Seabed Minerals Commissioner, Paul Lynch confirmed this stating: “The new draft Seabed Minerals Bill is continuing through February on its rounds of consultations with the public and special stakeholder groups.”
Lynch said a report presenting all feedback from public consultations held on Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Mauke, Mitiaro, and Atiu and those sent via email.
This will be presented to a specialist evaluation group.
He said the group are representatives of the Crown Law, the Seabed Minerals Authority, Cook Islands Investment Corporation, the National Environment Service, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Marae Moana Co-ordination Office, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
However, Lynch further said: “There were a number of public consultations planned throughout January and February on the Bill and the conversation about seabed minerals activity is ongoing.
“So members of the public are encouraged to feel free to continue providing feedback.”
Lynch said the primary purpose of the consultation recently held in the Cook Islands was to invite and record public feedback regarding the contents of the new draft SBM Bill.
He said this repeals and replaces the Seabed Minerals Act 2009.
“There has been an extensive consultation programme for the Bill and the genuine and valuable feedback has been gathered to date.”
He said the Bill was much simpler to read and understand than the previous Act.
Meanwhile, after the evaluation a new report addressing all feedback will be presented to deputy prime minister Mark Brown, as minister responsible for Seabed Minerals.
Lynch further stated that once Brown is satisfied on the proposed revisions, the revised draft legislation will be provided to the public again.
It will then proceed to Crown Law for finalising which will later be prepared for tabling at the next parliament sitting.