Deep-sea Connections: Identifying future demand for seabed minerals

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Mining on the international seabed is predicted to begin at commercial scale within the next decade. Despite this, many researchers have lamented that the deep sea remains “out of sight and out of mind” to the public, leading to little engagement with the substantial questions that deep-sea mining possibilities raise. New methods are needed to enable the public to take ownership of their own stake in the use of the international seabed. In this paper, I identify ISA deep-sea mining contractors’ beneficial ownership, explore their likely industry customers, and highlight which of their products can be used to drive public engagement in the global conversation about deep-sea mining. I find that 68% of contracts are beneficially owned by state governments, while 29% are beneficially owned by non-state corporations and one contract is beneficially owned by an intergovernmental organization. While no sale agreements have been formed between deep-sea miners and companies that sell products to the public yet, ties do exist between some beneficial owners and numerous technology and automotive companies. I suggest that the automotive sector may be the most important deep-sea mining industry connection to focus on for enabling public engagement in the future. This is due to the expected use of deep-sea minerals in vehicle batteries and the ability of consumer decisions and brand reputation to impact the behavior of car companies.





Gertz, Brandon (2021). Deep-sea Connections: Identifying future demand for seabed minerals. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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