Print Friendly and PDF
deep-sea mining cook islands

Hakai: When deep-sea miners come a-courting

1 min read

As the Cook Islands embraces the burgeoning industry, deep-sea mining companies are becoming part of the community’s day-to-day. Can the country avoid the mistakes of resource extraction’s past? Rachel Reeves writes for Hakai magazine.

In a nutshell:

The Cook Islands government is keenly interested in exploring seabed mining for polymetallic nodules as a potential source of revenue for the country's post-pandemic economy. The nodules are rich in the mission-critical minerals necessary for the anticipated global green energy transition. However, there are ongoing disagreements about the environmental impact of such mining activities on fragile marine ecosystem and biodiversity, as well as concerns about the potential release of harmful chemicals and toxic metals into the water during mining operations.

Key quote:

“I think everybody believes we have a climate change emergency. Do we want to wait 10 years or 15 or 20 years [to address it]? Maybe, but how much longer do we want to keep using oil and gas, keep polluting our atmosphere and continuing to create huge climate change issues?”

Big picture:

"The fix" as the old saying goes, may already be in. After a period of intense courting and lavish spending by multiple mining interests, exploration licenses were granted to three deep-sea mining companies. Prime Minister Mark Brown, who, thanks to recent changes to the Seabed Minerals Act, is also the minister of minerals, has referred to the highly-prized nodules as "golden apples" and delivered a withering rebuke of anti-mining interests last November at COP 27. Although an official decision on whether to proceed with mining won't be finalized until a seemingly perfunctory exploratory phase is deemed complete, official posturing and signaling from a handpicked, pro-mining advisory board indicate that this is a fait accompli.

Read the full story in Hakai Magazine.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

Become a donor
Today's top news

Heat, air pollution and climate change … oh my! Was summer 2023 the new normal?

Intense heat waves induced by climate change create favorable conditions for air pollution to worsen. Scientists say this isn’t likely to change unless action is taken.

From our newsroom

Calor, aire contaminado y cambio climático…¿Es el verano de 2023 nuestro futuro?

Intensas olas de calor provocadas por el cambio climático, crearon condiciones que empeoraron la contaminación del aire. Los científicos dicen que nada cambiará sin intervenciones.

Opinion: Protecting Indigenous children means protecting water

We need to stop compartmentalizing the environment, family and culture as separate problems.

Tracking down a poison: Getting the lead out of spices in Bangladesh and Georgia

Many low- and middle-income countries lack the resources to tackle lead poisoning. Here’s how two countries did it.

Tracking down a poison: Inside the fight for global action on lead

Lead poisoning is a devastating and overlooked global health crisis. Revealing its prevalence and sources is the first step to change that.