SYDNEY, Thursday 30 May 2024 — An explosive new investigation by the Nine Papers, published on today’s front page, reveals that former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the international weapons industry are behind a global push to establish deep sea mining — a cowboy new industry which poses severe and irreversible harm to the ocean.

Deep sea mining dredges the ocean floor in search of metals which proponents say are critical for the green energy transition — a claim disputed by leading scientists,  car and battery manufacturers like Samsung and BMW, and environmental organisations, including Greenpeace, who argue that the industry poses an unacceptable risk of serious economic and environmental damage.

A handful of companies are seeking to open up this new frontier for mineral extraction in the international seabed. One such, The Metals Company, is fronted by Australian businessman and CEO Gerard Barron, who will enjoy a front row seat at the next International Seabed Authority (ISA) meeting in Kingston, Jamaica in July. 

At the meeting, countries including Australia will decide on the future of the emerging industry. 25 nations have already said no to deep sea mining, including the UK, France and New Zealand, and there is growing frustration that the Albanese Government is yet to exhibit leadership on the issue by supporting a global moratorium. 

Glenn Walker, Head of Nature at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said the apparent connection between deep sea mining and a venture capital firm linked to AUKUS raises serious red flags.

“We all know that Scott Morrison likes to appoint himself to secret ministries but even for him, this is truly jumping the shark. 

“Profit-hungry companies seeking to reap the financial rewards of exploiting our wild places is nothing new. But the fact that a major driver for this appears to be for the international weapons industry, and linked to the reckless AUKUS submarine deal, is deeply alarming.

“While proponents of deep sea mining claim that these minerals are vital for the clean energy transition, the Nine investigation shows that they are also highly sought after by the weapons industry. It would be shameful to use the clean energy transition to greenwash weapons manufacturing.

“25 countries including the UK and Germany have already said no to deep sea mining. The Australian Government has an opportunity to take a strong position on this issue, commit to protecting our marine environment, and join the growing chorus of countries standing against this destructive new industry.”

Jack Kerr, Senior Investigator at Greenpeace Australian Pacific said that companies seeking to plunder the oceans for profit or geopolitical power must be stopped.

“Deep sea mining is pivoting from greenwashing to green beret. 

“I wouldn’t trust the environmental credentials of any project involving Scott Morrison and Trump’s former Secretary of State. It looks like a front for war-hungry investors who want to supercharge the weapons industry. 

“After failing to convince anyone that deep sea mining will solve the climate crisis, the industry now wants to use national security fears to bulldoze a path through international environmental regulations.”


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kate O’Callaghan on 0406 231 892 or [email protected]

Notes to Editor: