Minerals For A Green Society

February 4, 2010 — Washington DCThe symposium focuses on the need for and availability of minerals in the development of a ‘green society,’ whether it be by use of solar, wind, other types of renewable energy, and critical minerals needed for modern technology.

The goals of the meeting are to:

  • Highlight facts about minerals that are critical for our changing society, including what is needed and how vulnerable the U.S. may be to disruptions in global supply, and
  • Provide an opportunity for networking among individuals who are concerned about mineral-supply issues and who can take action to assure U.S. competitiveness in a green economy.


Session 1

Keynote – Global Scramble for Natural Resources – Its Impact on Americans
Dr. Vince Matthews, Director and State Geologist, Colorado Geological Survey

Most of the world’s economies are increasing their use of energy and mineral commodities, but China’s unparalleled economic growth is a major driver in the increased consumption of natural resources.

The Mineral Footprint(TM) of Green Choices
Dayan Anderson
, President, Mineral Footprint Network

Our human footprint is in fact comprised of numerous footprints: environmental, socioeconomic, and material footprints.  The interaction, interdependence and feedback between these footprints must not be ignored, and should be respected and integrated to best achieve a sustainable society.

Minerals, Critical Minerals, and the U.S. Economy
Dr. Roderick Eggert, Professor and Director, Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines

A recent report by the National Research Council (2008) defines a critical mineral or material as one that is both essential in use and subject to supply risk.  The report then evaluates the ‘criticality’ of eleven minerals or mineral families; of these, it finds that indium, manganese, niobium, platinum-group minerals, rare-earth elements are the most critical.

Key Mineral Information
U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Resources Program— Science Supporting Mineral Resource Stewardship
Kate Johnson, Program Coordinator, Mineral Resources, U.S. Geological Survey

The MRP is the sole Federal source of scientific information and unbiased research on nonfuel mienral potential, production, and consumption, as well as the environmental effects of minerals. To support creation of economic and national security policies in a global context, MRP collects and analyzes data on essential mineral commodities from around the world.

Session 2

Rare Earth (Lanthanide) Elements
Mark Smith
, CEO, Molycorp Minerals
Video (3min)
Rare Earths and rare earth permanent magnets are essential to clean energy and defense technologies on which our nation’s (and many other nations) economy, security and future depend.  Applications such as HEVs, wind turbines and energy efficient lighting are critically dependent on these elements.

The Role of Lithium
Dennis Bryan
, Senior Vice President of Development, Western Lithium Corporation

The future role of lithium is one of strategic and vital importance to the United States and to the advancement of technology worldwide. The expanding role of lithium includes primarily its role in advanced battery technologies for powering more energy efficient vehicles and for power storage applications.

Will Wilkinson
, Vice President for Africa for Freeport-McMoran Exploration Corp. and President of  Society for Mining , Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME).

Copper is a strategic metal in the U.S. economy. It is in strong demand in “Green” technologies due to superior thermal and electrical conductivity properties. Foreign dependence of copper is increasing and the majority of resources are located in politically challenged regions.

Luncheon Speaker

Minerals For A Green Society – Mining Is Important in Our Everyday Lives
Wayne Allard, Former U.S. Senator

Many mined elements are vitally important in our everyday lives. They are important to plant and animal biological systems, manufacturing, renewable energy, health care, our nation’s security and even Hollywood.

Session 3

Managing Materials for the 21st Century Military
Robert Latiff
, Director, Intelligence and Security Research Center, George Mason University, and Major General, USAF
The National Research Council Report from the Committee on Assessing the National Defense Stockpile (CANDS) is summarized. The stockpile has been operating under Cold War principles. Since then numerous changes in strategy, world situation, availability, etc. There have been few changes in stockpile policy, operation, modeling.

Role of China in Global Mineral Supply and Demand
Douglas Silver
, Chairman and CEO, International Royalty Corp.

There has been explosive growth in Chinese foreign mineral investments and theChinese are paying fair value for their foreign acquisitions. United States’ lack of a proactive mineral policy means our country will be facing increased risks of insufficient rare earth metals supplies, much higher raw materials costs, increased dependency on foreign ore sources.

Key Minerals in Photovoltaics
Ken Zweibe
l, Director, The GW Solar Institute, George Washington Univ.

Photovoltaics can be commercial and competitive for Long-Term and require silicon,CdTe. Emerging and promising technologies will use CuInSe2 alloys with Ga and S.

Roundtable Discussion

Moderator: Luke Danielson
Panel Participants:
Michael Kaas, retired mining engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Mines
Dr. Murray Hitzman, Charles F. Fogarty Professor of Economic Geology, Colorado School of Mines, and Chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Earth Resources
Douglas Silver, CEO, International Royalty Corporation
Jim Sims, Western Business Roundtable
Dr. Corby Anderson, CEng FIChemE, Harrison Western Professor Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
– Strategic minerals and vulnerability
– Mineral needs for the future and where they will come from
– Long term planning for mineral stockpiles
– Substitution and recycling