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Marine geoscientific research program for the South Pacific - second phase



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NEWS RELEASE

M142 Date 28 September 1984

MARINE GEOSCIENTIFIC RESEARCH PROGRAM FOR THE

SOUTH PACIFIC - SECOND PHASE

The A c t i n g M i n i s t e r f o r F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , Gordon S c h o l e s , t oday

announced t h a t A u s t r a l i a , t he U n i t e d S t a t e s and New Zealand w i l l ext end

t h e i r j o i n t program o f seabed g e o s c i e n t i f i c r e s e a r c h i n t h e South P a c i f i c .

The program i s b ei ng conducted i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h and f o r t h e b e n e f i t

o f i s l a n d c o u n t r i e s o f t h e South P a c i f i c .

The agreement t o c o n t i n u e t h e program f o r a second phase was

s i gn ed i n Washington on 19 September. The f i r s t phase was c a r r i e d out

by A u s t r a l i a , New Zealand and t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s i n t h e South P a c i f i c

r e g i o n d u r i n g 1982 and 1983. Thi s program o b t a i n e d e x t e n s i v e

g e o p h y s i c a l , g e o l o g i c a l and geochemi cal d at a and o c e a n- b o t t om s a m pl e s. The r e s u l t s o f r e s ea rc h from t he c o l l e c t e d d at a has g r e a t l y i mproved .

u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e g e o l o g i c a l and p e t r o l e u m p o t e n t i a l o f t h e r e g i o n .

The new p rogr am , u s i n g advanced U n i t e d S t a t e s and New Zealand g e o s c i e n t i f i c v e s s e l s s p e c i a l l y equi pped f o r o f f s h o r e p r o s p e c t i n g f o r

ener gy and m i n e r a l r e s o u r c e s , i s i n response t o r e q u e s t s o f South P a c i f i c

I s l a n d Governments f o r a d d i t i o n a l r e s e a r c h . The r e g i o n a l c o - o r d i n a t i n g

body f o r o f f s h o r e seabed r es ea rc h i n South P a c i f i c w at e r s ( t h e Committee

f o r t h e C o - o r d i n a t i o n o f J o i n t P r o s p e c t i n g i n South P a c i f i c O f f s h o r e

A r e a s , known as CCOP/SOPAC) i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h bot h t h e 1982 agreement and w i t h t he new 1984 agr eemen t. The South P a c i f i c I s l a n d Governments

a s s o c i a t e d w i t h CCOP/SOPAC ar e Cook I s l a n d s , F i j i , T u v a l u , Western Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Gui nea, Solomon I s l a n d s , Tonga, Guam and K i r i b a t i .

A u s t r a l i a ' s d i r e c t commitment t o t he new program w i l l be

$ 1 , 4 8 5 , 0 0 0 . This cover s A u s t r a l i a ' s i n p u t s t o v e s s e l o p e r a t i n g c o s t s ,

p r o v i s i o n o f s p e c i a l i s t s c i e n t i f i c manpower, f r e i g h t i n g and a n a l y s i s o f

seabed samples and s e i s m i c d a t a , and p r o c e s s i n g , i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and

p u b l i c a t i o n o f s c i e n t i f i c r e s u l t s . . '

A u s t r a l i a ' s p a r t i c i p a t i n g s c i e n t i s t s w i l l come p r i n c i p a l l y from

t h e Bureau o f M i n e r a l Resources ( Ca n b e r r a ) and A u s t r a l i a n u n i v e r s i t i e s .

Mr Scholes noted t h a t A u s t r a l i a ' s commitment t o t h i s pr ogr am,

which would come from South P a c i f i c r e g i o n a l a i d f u n d s , was p a r t o f

A u s t r a l i a ' s l o n g - t e r m e f f o r t t o a s s i s t South P a c i f i c c o u n t r i e s i d e n t i f y

and d ev el op t h e i r m i n e r a l and energy r e s o u r c e bases.