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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (November 29, 2000 - Radio Australia)---A Norwegian team of deep sea mining experts is investigating manganese mining in the Cook Islands.

A spokesman for the team, Tryuge Lund, said world market prices for the metal will ultimately determine if a mining project in Cook’s waters goes ahead.

The Cook Islands Herald quotes Mr. Lund as saying that he has no doubt the first commercial ocean-bed manganese nodule mining operation will take place in the Cook Islands.

Surveys have shown that the Cooks have the richest manganese nodule beds in the world.

The Norwegian representatives are to meet with political and business leaders in their pursuit of the mining venture.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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