Recently, the College of Science and the Department of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering (MME) invested a total of $250,000 in upgrades for key labs for critical mineral extraction in the Mackay School. With timely support from the Facilities department, the new state-of-the-art equipment has already been installed. The upgrade will allow students and faculty to pursue even more research related to critical mineral extraction, which are minerals identified as those that will be used in the green energy transition.
“The mineral processing laboratory is pivotal in preparing students for successful careers in mining and metallurgical engineering by bridging theoretical knowledge with practical application,” said Javad Sattarvand, chair of MME. “The lab offers a safe environment for optimizing processing techniques and developing problem-solving skills, and supports research on process improvement, technology development, and environmental concerns.”
The upgrades to the labs will provide opportunities for students and faculty members to work on new research frontiers related to lithium mining and processing, and lithium battery processing happening in our state. The new labs also allow faculty to attract more critical mineral related research projects, such as rare earth elements and nickel projects. MME faculty members have established strong collaborations with major mining companies, including Lithium Americas, American Battery Technology Company, American Lithium, Ioneer, Jindalee, Mountain Pass, Polymet, Eagle Mine, and more. Total funding in MME for critical minerals research exceeds $4.5 million, and the faculty members invite collaborations across department and college lines to push critical mineral research forward.
“Spurred by my predecessor, Katherine McCall, the College of Science’s ongoing support of lithium and other critical minerals research indicates our desire to maintain connections with the mining industry, connections the Mackay School has had its entire history,” Louisa Hope-Weeks, dean of the College of Science, said. “We hope, by investing in the key MME laboratories, to encourage more collaborative projects with other colleges and schools on campus.”
“Interdisciplinary collaboration mirrors industry practices, and partnerships with professionals offer students valuable exposure and potential career opportunities,” Sattarvand added.