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UMC 2024 Focus

Going Deep:
Getting the Science Right for Informed Decisions

Since 1970, the Underwater Minerals Conference (UMC, originally the Underwater Mining Institute) has provided a nexus linking academic, industrial, and governmental professionals working in all disciplines related to marine minerals, mining and exploration.  In doing so the UMC has built a unique, international network of participants for over half a century. The Conference is more than an annual forum; it has, through the years, fostered cooperation, assistance and understanding among those who compose the marine minerals community.  It has been the catalyst for forming the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS, incorporated in 1987) and for many joint ventures, business deals, research grants, service contracts and student stipends. 


As manganese nodule mining grows even closer to fruition, it becomes ever more important to have regulations based on prudent and well-grounded science. Deep-sea mining raises concerns. Some of these are well-founded and others are frivolous. For miners, it is critical to substantially address real environmental issues and show how they can be managed or mitigated. At the same time, it is prudent not to waste funds on irrelevant conjecture. At UMC, we will attempt to highlight new findings and show where accurate material can be fed into regulations to smooth the path forward and tamp down needless controversy. This is particularly true for sediment stirred into the water column by mining machines or discharge water returned to the lower water column. There is worry that the marine communities growing on or associated with nodules may be covered or ground up without surveys to distinguish what is in fact present. The answers to these issues may take years to fully resolve, but much progress and insight has been gained. The extent to which this scientific progress can move forward into regulations and ultimately mining permits is unclear. What is clear is that needless controversy over well-documented findings is unhelpful. UMC aims to highlight the science that has gotten it right and to help move this forward to informed decisions. At UMC , we will attempt to provide an unvarnished and forward looking view as to where the science and policy stand in 2024. We hope you will join us.

For IMMS, the theme “Going Deep: Getting the Science Right for Informed Decisions” is about advancing research and knowledge. We are interested in hearing about your latest developments and findings related to:


  • Geological and environmental studies of marine minerals deposits and their associated biological communities;

  • Regulatory and policy considerations for the exploration and extraction of marine minerals;

  • Technological considerations related to scientific survey objectives and commercial recovery objectives;

  • Other relevant topics.​


UMC is the world’s largest gathering of ocean mineral stakeholders, including government, academic, and commercial sector professionals.


UMC 2024, the 52nd Underwater Minerals Conference, is presented by the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS) in partnership with the Government of the Cook Islands. This year's Technical Program Chair is Dr. John Wiltshire, IMMS’ President, and the Co-Chair is Dr. Mark Luther from USF.


We look forward to seeing you in Rarotonga.

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