RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, July 26, 2016) – The Cook Islands Investment Corporation has signed a contract with the International Seabed Authority a deal that is regarded “as being a significant milestone in the Cook Islands aspirations to realise the potential of the mineral resource within its Exclusive Economic Zone”.
The EEZ covers 1.8 million square kilometres and the ISA gives the Cook Islands Government and people a contract to exclusive mineral rights 75,000 sq km of that in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone of the Pacific Ocean.
The corporation says: “This is a journey that has its beginnings in April 1972 when Sir Albert Henry, our Premier at the time, joined the NZ delegation to the Law of the Sea Conference in Caracas, Venezuela.
“He was given the opportunity to speak and, on behalf of all small island states in the world, he made an impassioned plea to the larger nations to recognise the rights of island people and nations to the resources of the ocean.”
It says: “In recent times the opportunities our EEZ may one day provide have been progressed by His Excellency Tom Marsters, in his role as minister of the Crown, then by Sir Terepai Maoate. For the past five years our country’s efforts have been guided by Mark Brown, the minister responsible for the Seabed Minerals Authority and the Cook Islands Investment Corporation.
“The contract we have signed with the United Nations’ International Seabed Authority and the Joint Venture Agreement with GSR (Belgium) are the direct result of the hard work of a small team of dedicated Cook Islanders supported by our regional and international partners at SOPAC/SPC based in Suva and the Commonwealth Secretariat, based in London.
“All Cook Islanders can be proud of the work done by Paul Lynch and his team at the SBMA in getting the Cook Islands message out to the world and managing the legislation progress.”
The corporation adds: “From Crown Law our new solicitor-general David James and particularly Alex Herman have been instrumental in both the work with the ISA contract and the details needed to complete our joint venture agreement.”
“At CIIC, board members Malcolm Sword and Caren Rangi and our CEO Tamarii Tutangata have been involved with every step we have made since the heads of agreement was first signed in 2013.
“From the beginning of this process CIIC engaged Heinz Matysik to head our legal team, which has included Lloyd Miles of CIIC, Hannah Lily and Joshua Brien of the Commonwealth Secretariat and Marie Bourrel of SOPAC/SPC.
“What we have signed with the ISA … gives the Cook Islands Government and people a contract to exclusive mineral rights to an area of 75,000 sq km in the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone of the Pacific Ocean.
“The Joint Venture Agreement we have signed with G-TEC Sea Mineral Resources of Belgium (GSR) is a partnership that provides GSR the opportunity to explore and one day, exploit the contract area that the Cook Islands hold.
“At some point in the future, we hope that GSR will also explore opportunities in our own EEZ.”- Release/RM