The new undersea cable comes at the cost of a small area of marine habitat, a new Environment Services report reveals.
The deadline for written submissions on the Manatua Cable’s Environmental Impact Assessment is Thursday.
The cable will also cause sedimentation through suspension of fine materials and off-site deposition affecting fish and coral.
However, the report says that overall there are no significant impacts due to the small area of marine habitat directly impacted, the fact there is no critical habitat down there, and that the cable-laying work won’t take long.
The report concludes the ecological impact is a very minor loss of reef habitat in the cable footprint and short-term disturbance.
Avaroa Cable Ltd says the manufacture of the 3600km Manatua Cable has passed the halfway mark and is on track for completion next month, in order to be laid and go live in May next year.
The cable runs from Samoa to French Polynesia, via Niue, Rarotonga and Aitutaki. It will give the Cooks their first fibre connection to the rest of the world, though there is debate as to whether this will reduce the country’s high internet costs.
Avaroa Cable chief executive Ranulf Scarbrough said stringent quality processes would ensure error-free operation over the cable’s 25-year lifespan.
Work is well advanced on the construction of the two cable landing dtations, on Rarotonga and Aitutaki, and contracts are in place for to lay the cable on land