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Cook Islands shows support for ISA museum

Saturday, July 27, 2013    

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THE Cook Islands made the first donation to the proposed seabed museum yesterday, presenting President of the International Seabed Authority Assembly Vladimir Polenov with a polymetallic nodule harvested by the group of islands in the South Pacific.

Polenov is the Russian Ambassador to Jamaica.

The nodule was encased in a transparent cube and came with an accompanying certificate of authenticity. It was presented by the Commissioner of Seabed Minerals Authority Paul Lynch.

The idea for the establishment of a museum was put forward by Secretary General of the Authority Nii Odunton in his address to the Assembly on Wednesday. He said it was a means by which the Authority could raise its profile and increase awareness of its existence and work in the area of seabed mining.

The Finance Committee is expected to mull the proposal and make a decision in 2014, but delegates already seem in agreement with the move, with several of them voicing their support yesterday.

"[This is] a permanent record from the Cook Islands in recognition of the great work being done by the Secretariat and the Secretary General," Lynch said.

Polymetallic nodules are rock formations on the seafloor which contain manganese, nickel, copper, cobalt, iron, silicon, aluminum, among other minerals. Member States of the ISA have been exploring the viability of mining nodules and other deep sea resources such as polymetallic sulphides and cobalt-rich crusts since 2001. The Authority is now preparing to move to the exploitation phase, which it expects to begin in 2016.

The ISA is now undertaking technical studies into the viability of deep sea deposits of rare earth minerals.

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