“In a deal worth $100,000, OML has reserved around 23,000 square kilometres, or 1.2% of the Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) containing high value polymetallic (manganese) nodules for up to 18 months.
This gives the company the exclusive right to apply to undertake prospecting and exploration activities in that area.
The first agreement between the government and the OML was signed a year ago in which they reserved a different seabed area of around 12,000 square kilometres to explore primarily for seafloor sediment enriched in Rare Earth Elements (REEs), as well as four additional areas reserved for OML on a first option basis.
Under this latest agreement, Finance minister Mark Brown confirmed the OML will not undertake any activity in this particular area, adding it was merely to reserve the spot for potential exploration in the future.
“It is basically to give them the first right over this (area) ahead of any other company that may want to come in and apply for an exploration licence in this particular area,” Brown said.”