Deep-Sea Mining Workshop and Colloquium

04/01/2009 00:00
04/03/2009 12:00

Deep-Sea Mining of Seafloor Massive Sulfides: A Reality for Science and Society in the 21st Century
1 - 2 April 2009, Woods Hole, Massachusetts (USA)

MorssColloq_audience_2009 Jian Lin (InterRidge Chair), Nii Odunton (Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority), and Chris German (InterRidge Co-Chair) and the audience for the public presentations that concluded the deep-sea mining workshop.

MorssColloq_panelists_2009 Morss Colloquium panelists. Back row from left: Sabine Christiansen, Caitlyn Antrim, Rod Eggert, Chris German. Front row from left: Samantha Smith, Nii Odunton, Sandor Mulsow, and Maurice Tivey.

News release, 6 April 2009:
Last week, the InterRidge Office coordinated a science and policy workshop on "Deep-Sea Mining of Seafloor Massive Sulfides: A Reality for Science and Society in the 21st Century." A total of 98 participants from more than 20 nations attended the workshop in Woods Hole, MA, USA. Participants included scientists, lawyers, economists, government representatives, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), mining companies, and NGOs. Students from countries around the globe including Papua New Guinea, Mauritius, and Djibouti, also were among the participants. A number of media representatives also attended, and the Associated Press bulletin was broadcast on over 3000 webpages (news media and blogs) around the globe including USA Today, CBS News, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The workshop began with a full day of science presentations, from the full spectrum of disciplines, including geology, geophysics, geochemistry, macro- and micro-biology, and marine conservation. Studies were reported from all ocean basins and a full range of hydrothermal systems, including mid-ocean ridges, back-arc basins, and submarine arc volcanoes. The abstract booklet is available at the InterRidge website: The second day of the workshop was devoted to a policy discussion, with presentations from the ISA, the International Marine Minerals Society, Nautilus Minerals, Teck, Anglo American, and the Marine Conservation Biology Institute.

The workshop concluded with a public colloquium, "Precious Metals from Deep-Sea Vents," which will be available soon as a podcast online at: Keynote speakers and panelists were Caitlyn Antrim (Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans), Sabine Christiansen (World Wildlife Fund), Rod Eggert (Colorado School of Mines), Chris German (WHOI, ChEss Co-Chair and InterRidge Co-Chair), Nii Allotey Odunton (ISA Secretary-General), Samantha Smith (Nautilus Minerals), and Maurice Tivey (WHOI, and Chair of the InterRidge Working Group on Seafloor Mineralization).

Following the workshop and colloquium, the InterRidge Working Group on Seafloor Mineralization met to discuss the gaps in scientific knowledge that were identified by the various stakeholders. One outcome of the Working Group meeting will include a summary of topics related to seafloor massive sulfides that require further scientific study. This summary will be provided to the ISA as well as for further discussion at a number of upcoming international meetings.

We received many positive comments on the unique blend of disciplines and diversity at the workshop, and the workshop was successful in establishing a dialogue between the broad range of stakeholders. We would like to extend many thanks to our sponsors: the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the ChEss project of the Census of Marine Life, InterRidge, and the U.S. Ridge 2000 program.

Science and Policy Workshop (limited to 100 participants): 1 - 2 April
Organizing Committee:
Maurice Tivey (WHOI, USA), Chair of InterRidge Working Group on Seafloor Mineralization,, +1 508 289-2265;
Members of the InterRidge Working Group on Seafloor Mineralization: Georgy Cherkashov (Russia), Yves Fouquet (France), Mark Hannington (Canada), Yasuhiro Kato (Japan), Jonguk Kim (Korea), Lisa Levin (USA), Rachel Mills (UK), K.A. Kamesh Raju (India), Xuefa Shi (China), Ingunn Thorseth (Norway), and Cindy Van Dover (USA);
Co-Chairs of the ChEss (Chemosynthetic Ecosystems) project of the Census of Marine Life: Chris German (WHOI, USA) and Paul Tyler (NOC, UK);
Jian Lin (WHOI, USA), InterRidge Chair;
Porter Hoagland (Senior Research Specialist, Marine Policy Center, WHOI, USA).

Public Colloquium, sponsored by Morss Program at WHOI (Thursday afternoon, 2 April)

MorssColloq_Poster_2009 Click HERE to download poster PDF

Keynote Speakers:
Caitlyn Antrim (Executive Director, Rule of Law Committee for the Oceans);
Rod Eggert (Division Director, Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines);
Nii Allotey Odunton (Secretary-General, International Seabed Authority);
Maurice Tivey (Dept. Chair, Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

Sponsors: WHOI, ChEss, InterRidge, Ridge 2000

Stace Beaulieu, InterRidge Coordinator (

For more information on this subject, click here for an article, "Going for Gold" in Ocean Challenge magazine.

abstract_booklet_Morss_workshop_FINAL_no_email.pdf800.42 KB
agenda_workshop_colloquium_ver31Mar2009.pdf20.94 KB