Story | 18 Jun, 2024

Investing for Ocean Impact podcast, Season 3: Deep Sea Mining

The ocean’s seabed harbours a range of mineral reserves containing valuable metals and compounds. But under international law these resources have been designated “the common heritage of mankind”, a designation backed up by the body responsible for both preserving and allowing their use, the International Seabed Authority.

Today, for the first time, this body is being seriously tested: some companies are saying they are ready to mine the deep sea and are demanding to do so. We look to separate rhetoric from reality as our host, BBC science journalist Phil Sansom, dives into this important, and currently debated subject.

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Photo: NOAA - DB Philanthropies - IUCN

In a three-part miniseries format, Season 3 works to unlock the saltwater secrets of Deep Sea Mining through interviews with six distinguished guests. We explore the facts and evidence around deep sea mining, and cover the growing case for a moratorium on the practice.

Expert guests this season range from top level of government and policy-making through to industry, economics, international law and of course, science. 


Investing for Ocean Impact - Deep Sea Mining miniseries - Episode 3 - President Whipps of Palau - Kristina Gjerde IUCN High Seas AdvisorPhoto: IUCN - Palau Presidential Office - NOAA - DOSI - Pew - Scripps Institute

Episode 3 - The Growing Wave


His Excellency, Surangel S. Whipps Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, leads our final episode. He reveals what is at stake for the ocean - then connects this to all nations' politics and populations, particularly SIDS (Small Island Developing States) - as national representatives from all around the world move the Deep Sea Mining debate to the International Seabed Authority’s headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, at the end of this month, July 2024.

Lastly, Kristina Gjerde, Senior High Seas Advisor, IUCN, recaps the vital points of the discussions we heard this Season. She then applies her experience of decades of work in this area to picture divergent futures: what we can be achieved if the original vision of the common heritage of mankind is properly applied, and what may happen if we don’t.



Investing for Ocean Impact, Season 3, Episode 2 - The GuestsPhoto: NOAA, Volvo, University of British Columbia, IUCN

Episode 2 - Deep Sea Mining: Good or Bad Investment?

Insights into corporate and economic aspects

Eva Bennis, Head of Sustainability Procurement at Volvo Cars, helps us see the Deep Sea Mining perspective of one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, and

Professor Rashid Sumaila, Multi-disciplinary Economist at the University of British Columbia, analyses and opens the economic and monetary aspects of potential mining. Both share their viewpoints on the ethical aspects of the subject.


Investing for Ocean Impact, Season 3, Episode 1: Deep sea Mining Explained - The GuestsPhoto: NOAA, IUCN, Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy

Episode 1 - What is Deep Sea Mining?

Exploring the background and sensitivities of any proposed mining of the deep sea.

Dr Diva Amon, leading marine biologist and scientific advisor at the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and 

Pradeep Singh, Fellow at the Research Institute for Sustainability at Helmholtz Center Potsdam, a legal expert on ocean governance and the law of the sea,

discuss how we got to where we are today what the issues are by overviewing the history, simply explaining the legal framework surrounding any potential exploitation of the international seabed, and revealing recent developments in science. All of this provides context to the discussions, negotiations and positions on this important subject, currently being debated by the only body that is able to regulate the seabed outside national waters, the International Seabed Authority.


Investing for Ocean Impact is available on standard podcast platforms. 

Season 3 is a Fresh Air Production on behalf of IUCN and Dona Bertarelli Philanthropy.

It is presented and produced by Phil Sansom with production assistance by Anthony Hobson.