Deep-sea mining dialogue

Deep-sea mining

The challenge

The surge in global demand for cobalt and other specialty metals for use in batteries, the automotive industry, building and construction is accelerating. The global rare earth elements market is currently forecast to reach USD 14.43 billion by 2025. And conventional terrestrial mining sources are proving increasingly difficult for companies to mine, coupled with rising social, political and environmental complexity. Recent innovations and technological advancements are making the deep ocean seabed more accessible, and these factors combined are triggering greater interest among private-sector actors and countries in ocean mining. The consequences of deep-sea mining are, however, not yet fully understood and could be irreversible.

The Action Track

The World Economic Forum is working with key partners to shed light on critical pieces that will be essential to understand and make informed decisions on how society is going to move forward in sustainable production and sustainable consumption of critical metals. The aim is to create a global dialogue to examine the outlook for the future of materials.

Friends of Ocean Action is supporting the World Economic Forum effort by convening stakeholders and raising the visibility of this urgent need among its community.


Promoting discussions of the opportunity and risks of mining the deep sea (at Friends of Ocean Action workshops, Global Batter Alliance convenings)

Stimulating constructive conversations around the outlook of materials

Building a dialogue across science, private sector and policy communities

2020 and beyond

World Economic Forum to publish a white paper on the topic of deep-sea minerals. This report highlights existing facts surrounding the deep-sea minerals debate: background, material demand, economics, and potential social and environmental impact. The report also connects this very focused topic back to the broader context of our global material system.

Based on the recommendations of the paper, the World Economic Forum will convene stakeholders together in a constructive, collaborative and open dialogue, with the ultimate aim of reaching an informed and consensual decision on the most responsible way forward.

Learn more about the Deep-Sea Mining Dialogue here:

Other action tracks