Category: Mineral Foundations of the Energy Transition

THE MOSAIC APPROACH: a Multidimensional Strategy for Strengthening America’s Critical Minerals Supply Chain 10/18/2021

The Mosaic Approach: a Multidimensional Strategy for Strengthening America’s Critical Minerals Supply Chain

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contribute to this report by the Wilson Center on how the United States faces a troubling scenario when it comes to the supply chain for critical minerals. Rapidly increasing demand, under-developed national resources, intense international competition, and years of neglect in this issue area place the U.S. at a distinct disadvantage vis-à-vis China in securing access to the metals and Rare Earth Elements that are vital for the energy transition and for geopolitical ambitions. This paper reflects the dialogue sustained by a high-level group of stakeholders in the summer of 2021 and argues that the United States must take a number of key steps to make the critical minerals supply chain more resilient.  October 18, 2021.

Mining engineering course recognized by UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network 10/13/2021

Mining engineering course recognized by UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Nicole Smith and faculty at Virginia Tech, and the National University of Colombia co-teach a class on Sustainable Development and Earth Resources.  The class, which focuses on sustainable development and earth resources, was selected by SDSN as a case study for integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into resource engineering education.  October 13, 2021.

In a World Fighting Climate Change, Fossil Fuels Take Revenge 10/10/2021

In a World Fighting Climate Change, Fossil Fuels Take Revenge

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article on how the demand for coal is moving back near peak levels. Across the world, fossil fuels are making a remarkable comeback as a super-charged recovery from the pandemic boosts demand. For all the green energy promises and plans, that transition is in its infancy, and the world still leans heavily on fossils. October 10, 2021.

Phytoremediation and phytoextraction in Sub-Saharan Africa Addressing economic and social challenges 10/6/2021

Phytoremediation and phytoextraction in Sub-Saharan Africa: Addressing economic and social challenges

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee, Faculty Fellow Rennie B. Kaunda, Thomson Sinkala, Payne Scholar Caleb F. Workman, Director Morgan D. Bazilian, and Deputy Director Greg Clough write about how mining and mineral processing continues to be a source of lasting environmental problems in many developing economies. Phytoremediation has proven to be a viable strategy to remediate contaminated lands and limit environmental damage, but it has not been widely implemented partially due to social and economic challenges.  This paper provides a conceptual approach for phytoremediation-based mineral recovery and explores the social and economic challenges related to large-scale deployment.   October 6, 2021.  

Harnessing data for materials discovery goal of new $15M NSF Institute for Data-Driven Dynamical Design 9/28/2021

Harnessing data for materials discovery goal of new $15M NSF Institute for Data-Driven Dynamical Design

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Eric Toberer is leading the Harnessing Data Revolution Institutes funded nationwide.  A new $15 million interdisciplinary research institute led by Colorado School of Mines aims to create new theoretically grounded and experimentally validated approaches and tools to design and discover dynamical materials and structures while solving long-standing scientific challenges in the dynamical response of materials.  September 28, 2021.

HOW PUBLIC FUNDERS CAN HELP TAKE COAL OFFLINE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: THREE FINANCIAL OPTIONS 9/20/2021

HOW PUBLIC FUNDERS CAN HELP TAKE COAL OFFLINE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: THREE FINANCIAL OPTIONS

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Researcher Brad Handler, and Katie Auth write about how the International Energy Agency projects a need to phase out all unabated coal-fired power plants by 2040 to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century. This has significant potential implications for emerging markets. Options include three public-private mechanisms discussed, each of which requires some form of concessionary public capital or guarantee.  September 20, 2021.

The Kenyan Connection: Shedding Light on a Global Hub in the Trade of Illicit Gold and Mercury 9/13/2021

The Kenyan Connection: Shedding Light on a Global Hub in the Trade of Illicit Gold and Mercury

Payne Institute Deputy Director Greg Clough is part of the team of Colorado School of Mines researchers working on the IMPACT project that is transforming natural resource management to empower the artisanal gold mining communities in Nairobi.  IMPACT is exploring ways to disrupt the illicit gold supply chain networks.  September 13, 2021. 

As the planet burns, a new Cold War over critical minerals 8/11/2021

As the planet burns, a new Cold War over critical minerals

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the recent deadly heat wave in the Pacific Northwest only underscored the dire consequences of continued inaction in the face of climate change. As the second largest contributor to climate change emissions, the increasing incidence and severity of heat waves, droughts, and forest fires should be a clear wake-up call to the United States. Unfortunately, the U.S. has been neglecting low-carbon technologies for decades, and now the raw materials and chemicals needed to build them are almost exclusively controlled by China. If the U.S. wants to get out from under China’s thumb while avoiding conflict, then it must create effective mineral policy by rebuilding innovation capabilities, partnering with industry, and leveraging the government’s role as a market actor. August 11, 2021.

A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluation of Sustainability Reporting Practices in Extractive Industries 8/4/2021

A Data-Driven Approach to Evaluation of Sustainability Reporting Practices in Extractive Industries

Cansu Perdeli Demirkan, Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith and Sebnem Duzgun, and Aurora Waclawski write about how sustainability reporting is one of the tools that contribute to incorporating sustainable development in the design of extractive operations (i.e., “Design for Sustainability”), and the demand for sustainability reports is increasing due to the increased focus on sustainable development and sustainable financing efforts. The extractive industries are believed to have unique strengths to
contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. August 4, 2021.