Letter: Identifying the impacts of seabed mining

Friday 6 November 2020 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letter: Identifying the impacts of seabed mining
Deep sea manganese nodules found in the Cook Islands EEZ. SEABED MINERALS AUTHORITY / 20092117

Thanks to Te Ipukarea Society (TIS) for the background information and for outlining how a moratorium would allow time for us to achieve many other goals like establishing Marae Moana zones and aligning with the UN’s strategy.

Serious question though, other than supporting other NGO’s who call for the same thing, what actual steps would this call materialise itself as? Are you planning on leading legal action? Can you recommend the best way to move this conversation from opinion to law reform?

Also, a moratorium only temporarily prohibits an activity. Is it your opinion this is all we need? Or is your position anti-mining?

And I’m keen to hear more about your formal submissions on draft regulations and legislation. Legal stuff can be complex and wordy and loses public interest so, helping to bridge that gap for people to understand the process helps to sustain public engagement you dig?

No shade but, Cook Islands News articles don’t stop mining you know? It didn’t stop purse seining or chemicals in the water. If this is an important issue, what are we all going to do different this time?

Wishing you success and see you in your office soon to discuss.

Pouarii Jane Tanner

Te Ipukarea Society replies – Thanks for the question Pouarii! We believe that asking for and supporting a moratorium is not just opinion – we are asking the government to commit to halting decisions around exploitation for at least 10 years, and to complete the Marae Moana Spatial Plan.

The biggest actual step which a moratorium will enable is the collection of much-needed scientific data. This will reduce the uncertainty around the environmental impacts the industry is likely to have, which will then help us refine our position further.

The rationale behind the moratorium is that there is not enough information available to safely say that exploitation can go ahead. This lack of information also applies if saying it cannot go ahead ever.

In addition, more time will allow for potential technological advancements and for further research into alternative solutions, for example recycling of metals already in circulation.

As a Society, we have taken and continue to take a number of other practical steps, including making formal submissions on draft regulations and legislation – please do come and see us at the office if you are able, we would love to discuss further! Meitaki ma’ata.