Critical minerals experts assembled for Aug. online workshop Metal Tech News – July 21, 2021
What are critical minerals, where do we find them, and why are they considered critical? These are among the questions that will be addressed by experts during a two-day virtual workshop hosted by Missouri University of Science and Technology on August 2-3.
This "Resilient Supply of Critical Minerals" workshop will provide insight and answers to issues surrounding materials such as cobalt for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, germanium for transistors, tellurium for solar cells, and rare earth elements for magnets and electronics.
"The term 'critical minerals' describes commodities whose unreliable supply threatens our nation's economy and defense," said Marek Locmelis, assistant professor of geology and geophysics at Missouri S&T and an organizer of the workshop. "The critical minerals discussion cuts across a variety of disciplines, from mining and geosciences to public policy to environmental considerations. Important concerns are sustainability, ethical and responsible sourcing, and research for compounds that could replace critical minerals."
To address these topics, Missouri S&T has assembled eight keynote speakers:
• Roderick Eggert from the Critical Minerals Institute at the Colorado School of Mines.
• Thomas Graedel from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University.
• Jon Kellar, the Douglas Fuerstenau Professor of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at the South Dakota Schools of Mines and Technology.
• Julie Klinger from the Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware.
• Michael Magyar from the National Minerals Information Center at the United States Geological Survey.
• Michael Moats from the Thomas J. O'Keefe Institute for Sustainable Supply of Strategic Minerals at Missouri S&T.
• Nedal Nassar from the National Minerals Information Center at USGS.
• John Uhrie, vice president of exploration, research and technical development at Doe Run Co.
These keynote speakers will address critical minerals topics such as supply chains, global politics, domestic sourcing and production, recycling, and reprocessing. The workshop will also address the illicit critical mineral economy, a topic of increasing urgency as critical minerals are sometimes unethically mined and illegally marketed, similar to issues associated with conflict diamonds.
The workshop will also feature breakout sessions where participants will discuss research needs in areas related to the keynote presentations. The discussions can be used to inform Congress and develop federal funding initiatives.
The "Resilient Supply of Critical Minerals" workshop is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation and is the first in a planned series of national conversations about critical minerals. Originally intended as an in-person event at Missouri S&T but later moved to an online meeting via Zoom, this first of a planned series of workshops will bring together representatives from higher education, industry, and government to help spur action and disseminate research on critical minerals.
"We are grateful for the NSF's support for this crucial topic," says Locmelis. "We will continue the discussions during an in-person workshop on the Missouri S&T campus in mid-2022. Because the critical-mineral challenge will stay with us for decades, we look forward to developing the workshop into a regular series of meetings in the future."
Anyone interested in critical minerals is invited to register for the workshop at http://www.criticalminerals.mst.edu/.