Canada to claim North Pole: Report

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada's Prime Minister has ordered the inclusion of the North Pole in the country's Arctic claim after it was excluded from a proposed United Nations (UN) submission, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Canada will still meet a December 6 deadline for filing an application to the UN to extend its northern sea boundary, according to the daily Globe and Mail.

But it now also plans to follow up with a broader claim that includes the geographic North Pole once additional surveying, analysis and paperwork is completed, it said.

The Prime Minister's office declined to comment on the report, telling AFP only that "Canada is in the process of securing its sovereignty over the north."

Canadian sovereignty over the far north has been a key plank of Harper's Tories since his government was first elected in 2006.

Every summer in recent years, Harper has traveled to the region to observe Canadian military exercises the harsh environment.

Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States claim overlapping parts of the region believed to be rich in hydrocarbons, and have been rushing to gather evidence in support of their respective claims.

Rising temperatures have boosted interest in the polar region, as melting ice opens up shipping routes and makes hitherto inaccessible mineral resources easier to exploit.

According to the US Geological Survey, the Arctic seabed is thought to hold about 90 billion barrels of oil and 30 per cent of the world's undiscovered gas resources.

The North Pole seabed itself is not believed to hold large reserves but has symbolic value for the countries in the region.

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