The Underwater Mining Conference (UMC, previously the Underwater Mining Institute) brings together leaders from academia, industry, and government who share a common interest in marine mining and exploration. For more than four decades, over 25 nations have been represented at this annual forum to exchange ideas, seek expertise, and share in the excitement of this evolving industry. The oversight committee that supervises the conference is the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS). At its 2014 annual meeting, the Executive Board of IMMS voted to change the name of the annual meeting to its current designation as the UMC.
Since the first conference was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1970, the primary goal has been to promote prudent and responsible development of marine mineral resources through technical presentations in venues that encourage informal free exchange. The technical theme varies each year, as does the meeting location and host. Presentations are scrutinized to ensure their contents to be substantive and stimulating. Proceedings are not published nor are sessions recorded without permission from the contributors. Abstracts of the presentations, however, are published for conference participants with their explicit permission only, and, starting in 2008 they have been archived for access at OneMine.org, the digital online library for the mining and minerals community.
Another facet in the development of marine minerals and mining is the publication, Marine Georesources and Geotechnology (previously Journal of Marine Mining), consisting of research publications applied to the scientific and engineering aspects and the management and utilization of seafloor sediments and mineral resources.
These components were all initiated by the conference’s founder, the late Professor J. Robert Moore, whose vision and contributions have laid the groundwork for the success of the conference far beyond the borders of Wisconsin. Professor Moore chaired each conference until his passing. Dr. Charles L. Morgan, a former President of IMMS, longtime worker in the area of seabed minerals, and 2015 IMMS Moore Medal Award recipient, has served as Professor Moore’s successor since 1994 through 2015. From 2016 on, the technical chair of the conference is the standing president of IMMS.
Conference coordination started in 1970 by the Sea Grant Advisory Program at the University of Wisconsin (notably Greg Hedden, Barbara Arnold, Gene Woock and Allen Miller). From 1992 through the present, Karynne Chong Morgan of the Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory, University of Hawai‘i, has served as conference coordinator.
The history of the UMI is best described by its founder, J. Robert Moore in The Underwater Mining Institute: Two Decades of Partnership, as prepared for the 25th celebration of the UMI in Monterey, California, December 1988.
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The Underwater Mining Institute was founded by J. Robert Moore, retired professor of marine science from The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Moore was chief marine geologist for the United Kingdom Irish Sea Program in the early 1960s. He became professor of geology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1966 where he founded and directed the Marine Research Laboratory and the Underwater Minerals Program. It was during his tenure in Wisconsin that he established the Underwater Mining Institute, serving as chair and editor-in-chief of its Journal of Marine Mining until 1994.
In the late 1970s, Professor Moore became director of the Marine Science Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and in 1979 joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin. Professor Moore served as chairman of the Department of Marine Science and director of the Marine Science Institute until 1982, and continued to teach at UT Austin until his retirement in 1994.
In 1989 Professor Moore won the Outstanding Career Achievement Award from the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS). Although he passed on in 1995, the legacy of his lifetime of achievements lives on through the UMI, IMMS, MG&G and the knowledge and passion he instilled in his colleagues and protégés.
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