Registration open for Missouri S&T’s national critical minerals workshop

Greg Edwards, Missouri S&T

May 25, 2023

Registration is open for the third annual Resilient Supply of Critical Minerals workshop, which will be held Aug. 9-10 at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Visit to register and to learn more about applying for travel grants funded by the National Science Foundation. The deadline for travel grant applications is Monday, June 5.

The event will feature experts who will speak on the potential for critical minerals in the United States, mineral processing and recycling, critical mineral policies and resource sustainability.

There will also be a panel discussion, poster sessions and an optional field trip to visit Doe Run Co.’s operations in Viburnum, MO. The field trip will focus on the company’s drilling efforts for exploration, water treatment plant, mineral processing plant and battery recycling facility.

Marek Locmelis, associate professor of geosciences and geological and petroleum engineering at S&T and faculty fellow in research and innovation will lead the event.

“The purpose of this workshop series is to provide an annual platform to continuously develop and improve roadmaps to help increase the resilience and sustainable and ethical supply of critical minerals for the United States,” said Locmelis. “It is vital that we accomplish this for the United States to grow as a society and make the transition to clean energy.”

“In our previous workshops, we discussed our research needs. Now we will put groups together to kick start collaborations that will help address these issues,” said Locmelis.

This will be the first year the workshop will be held on the Missouri S&T campus; the prior workshops were conducted remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. An online option will also available.

The workshop is a joint effort by several departments at Missouri S&T. Co-organizers include:

  • Dr. Alanna Krolikowski, assistant professor of history and political science
  • Dr. Mahelet Fikru, associate professor of economics
  • Dr. Michael Moats, chair of materials science and engineering
  • Dr. Kwame Awuah-Offei, chair of mining and explosives engineering
  • Dr. Lana Alagha, associate professor of mining engineering
  • Dr. Mark Fitch, associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering
  • Shelby Clark, Ph.D. student in geology and geophysics

National critical minerals crisis

Signaling the urgency of the critical minerals crisis, Moats appeared earlier this year before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee to provide expert testimony on the topic.

“Critical minerals are very important to modern life,” Moats told the subcommittee. “We often focus on the battery minerals and the rare earths, but if you don’t have gallium you don’t have Wi-Fi. If you don’t have indium you don’t have the touch screen. If you don’t have tellurium you don’t have some solar panels. There’s a lot more to it than just the battery minerals and the rare earths that are often talked about in the news.”

Of the 87 elements used for manufacturing, the U.S. Geological Survey identifies 50 as critical minerals.

“We have to make progress on this issue now, and Missouri S&T is uniquely positioned to make a difference across the supply chain,” she says. “We have experts at S&T in mining, geology, materials science, metallurgy, environmental sciences and engineering, economics, and political science. What we will do at the workshop is bring together these experts from our university, as well as professionals from other institutions, the government and companies,” said Clark.

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About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university with more than 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, MO, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit

Bauxite is the primary ore used to produce aluminum, a critical mineral used in most industrial sectors in the United States. Bauxite also contains gallium, which is necessary for multiple types of technology, including wireless internet and smart phones. Photo by the U.S. Geological Survey.



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