Payne Scholars: Student Commentary Series

World-class insights helping to inform and shape public
policy on earth resources, energy, and the environment


The Payne Scholars program gives students the opportunity to perform research, collaborate across campus and engage with a broad network of international experts on global policy challenges. 

Payne Scholars: Student Commentary Series Spring 2024


Payne Institute student researcher Edikan Udofia writes about Nigeria is endowed with more than 2 billion metric tons of iron ore reserves and is striving to position itself as a key player in the worldwide steel sector. Despite encountering challenges in the past regarding enhancing its steel manufacturing capabilities, Nigeria is currently well-placed to harness its abundant mineral wealth and enhance its steel production capacity. February 29, 2024. 

Payne Scholars: Student Commentary Series Spring 2023

Renewable Energy in Africa: Kenya’s Success and its Possible Implementation in Angola

Payne Institute student researcher Yara Alexandra Lima writes about how Africa represents some of the world’s largest reserves of both renewable and non-renewable energy sources, however, it accounts for half of the world’s power deficit. Many African countries are working towards developing their energy sector and, consequently, improving their economic, social, and political framework.  This paper will discuss the key strategies employed by Kenya to develop its energy sector and increase its electrification rate, and the possibility of applying these policies in other African countries, namely Angola. July 6, 2023.

China’s Consolidation of Rare Earth Elements Sector 

Payne Institute student researcher Tinzar Htun writes about how today China is the biggest global supplier of rare earth elements (REEs), accounting for around 70 percent of global mine production (1.2 million tons) in 2022. More importantly, China holds the dominant role in the downstream process of REE, separating and processing. The partial shutdown of the Lynas facility in Malaysia will grant China near-exclusive control over the production and distribution of REEs in the global market.  May 12, 2023.

Applying Post-Quantum Cryptography – Survey and Application of Machine Learning

Payne Institute student researcher Mack Osborne writes about how quantum computing poses a considerable threat in the world of cyber security. Policy makers are largely unprepared for a post-quantum world, significantly due to a lack of understanding and awareness. The goal of this paper is to improve understanding and provide a new and effective way to analyze post-quantum cryptography, for researchers and security engineers alike.  April 26, 2023.

The Payne Institute experts are regional, national, and international leaders in applied research in natural resources, energy, and the environment. Our team is involved in a wide variety of research projects in these fields, and are committed to sharing these results with academic and professional audiences.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, or official policies of the Payne Institute or Colorado School of Mines.