Canada to Claim North Pole: Page 2

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A picture of a buoy anchored near a remote webcam at the North Pole shows a meltwater lake surrounding the camera on July 22.
North Pole Environmental Laboratory

Data collection mainly involved the use of aircraft, ice breakers and robot submersibles covering a 58,000-kilometer (36,000 mile) stretch of ice-covered waters.

And periodically unpredictable ice conditions forced the emergency evacuation of ice camps, officials said.

Foreign ministry official Hugh Adsett told a technical briefing "substantial progress" has been made in the data collection, but added without specifying a timeline, "there is more work to be done."

"The objective is to obtain the most expansive continental shelf for Canada," he said.

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Nations bordering the Arctic currently are entitled to a 200-nautical-mile economic zone from their coastlines, but claims for extending their territories are to be decided under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In order to be successful Canada must show that its continental shelf extends beneath the North Pole, which sits on a slope of the underwater Lomonosov Ridge.

Environmental group Greenpeace meanwhile condemned Canada's announcement, warning any future drilling in the Arctic could lead to a "climate maelstrom."

"Extending the Canadian territory to expand Arctic oil extraction is equal to condemning future generations to an environmental nightmare," Greenpeace said in a statement.

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Canada's Atlantic Ocean claim stretches from the shores of its easternmost Nova Scotia province northward along the Grand Banks to the northern tip of Labrador 7,700 kilometers (4,780 miles) away.

The area is more than 1.2 million square kilometers (460,000 square miles) in size, or as large as Canada's Western plains.

Canada expects overlapping claims in the Atlantic from Denmark in the Labrador Sea and with the United States south of Nova Scotia.

Canada said France also intends to file a submission in respect to its tiny islands in the northwest Atlantic, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, "so we may have a dispute with France in the future," the official added.

The UN is scheduled to consider Canada's partial submission in July-August 2014.