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Underwater Minerals Conference (UMC)

The Underwater Minerals Conference is an annual international forum that since 1970 has brought the marine minerals community together. UMC is the world’s largest gathering of ocean mineral stakeholders, including government, academic, and private professionals. Topics considered for inclusion in the conference include geological and biological studies of marine minerals deposits and their associated biological communities, regulatory considerations related to mineral resource and environmental impact assessment, technological considerations related to scientific survey objectives and commercial recovery objectives, and general policy considerations related to the long-term development of these resources.

The 52nd Underwater Minerals Conference – UMC 2024, is presented by the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS) in partnership with the Government of the Cook Islands. The Conference will be held in the National Auditorium, in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. We will continue the well-tested focus of the conference, which brings together world leaders from government, academia and industry from over 25 countries to exchange information and ideas on all aspects of underwater mineral exploration, environmental research and mining. The UMC 2024 focus is:

Going Deep: Getting the Science Right for Informed Decisions

This year, we start with an evening welcome reception and registration on Sunday evening, followed by an expanded three-day technical session with 25-minute presentations. The fourth day includes special-interest workshops. The fifth and final day of UMC will be our field tour day and some more specific workshops.

UMC 2024 Technical Program Chair is Dr. John Wiltshire, president of IMMS.

UMC History

UMC components were initiated by the conference founder, the late Professor J. Robert Moore, whose vision and contributions have laid the groundwork for the success of the conference far beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Professor Moore chaired each conference until his passing. 

Conference coordination started in 1970 by the Sea Grant Advisory Program at the University of Wisconsin (notably Greg Hedden, Barbara Arnold, Gene Woock and Allen Miller). From 1992 through 2019, Karynne Chong Morgan of the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory, University of Hawai‘i, served as conference coordinator.

The history of the UMI is best described by its founder, J. Robert Moore in The Underwater Mining Institute: Two Decades of Partnership, as prepared for the 25th celebration of the UMI in Monterey, California, December 1988.

The Underwater Mining Institute: Two Decades of Partnership (PDF)


UMI Founder


The Underwater Mining Institute was founded by J. Robert Moore, retired professor of marine science from The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Moore was chief marine geologist for the United Kingdom Irish Sea Program in the early 1960s. He became professor of geology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1966 where he founded and directed the Marine Research Laboratory and the Underwater Minerals Program. It was during his tenure in Wisconsin that he established the Underwater Mining Institute, serving as chair and editor-in-chief of its Journal of Marine Mining until 1994.

In the late 1970s, Professor Moore became director of the Marine Science Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and in 1979 joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Moore served as chairman of the Department of Marine Science and director of the Marine Science Institute until 1982, and continued to teach at UT Austin until his retirement in 1994.

In 1989 Professor Moore won the Outstanding Career Achievement Award from the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS). Although he passed on in 1995, the legacy of his lifetime of achievements lives on through the UMI, IMMS, MG&G and the knowledge and passion he instilled in his colleagues and protégés.


The Moore Medal Award was initiated in 1998 in honor of professor Moore to recognize those who have contributed notably to the goals and initiatives of the Society.

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