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

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On May 25, 2023

Bauxite, shown here, is the primary ore used to produce aluminum, a critical mineral that is 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 smartphones. Photo by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Registration is now open for the third annual Resilient Supply of Critical Minerals workshop, which will be Wednesday, Aug. 9, and Thursday, Aug. 10, at Missouri S&T.

Those interested can visit to register and 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 at topical sessions 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 the Doe Run company’s operations in Viburnum, Missouri. The field trip will focus on the company’s drilling efforts for exploration, water treatment plant, mineral processing plant, and battery recycling facility.

Dr. Marek Locmelis, associate professor of geosciences and geological and petroleum engineering at S&T and faculty fellow in research and innovation, is once again leading 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,” Locmelis says. “It is vital that we accomplish this for the United States to grow as a society and make the transition to clean energy.”

Locmelis says he hopes the workshop will inspire some immediate action to help with the critical minerals crisis.
“In our previous workshops, we discussed our research needs,” he says. “Now, we will put groups together to kickstart collaborations that will help address these issues.”

This will be the first year the workshop will be held on campus, as COVID-19 concerns led to previous sessions being held remotely. An online option will be available as well.

The workshop is a joint effort by several departments at Missouri S&T. Co-organizers from S&T 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 and provided expert testimony on this 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 touchscreen. 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 says that 50 count as critical minerals, further demonstrating the importance of this issue.

Clark agrees with this assessment and the urgency to find solutions.

“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.”

Get more details at

About Missouri S&T

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, 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

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