Out and about talking Rare Earths

Suzanne Shaw, Rob Pell, and Frances Wall at Manchester Geological Association. Photo Copyright Frances Wall.
With Cardiff SEG committee. Photo Copyright Frances Wall.

Frances Wall was out and about during the last couple of months to give talks related to the SoS RARE project to a variety of audiences.

On 21 January, the Manchester Geological Association held an afternoon on rare earths with three talks by SoS RARE participants and partners. Frances started off with an introduction to the Geology of Rare Earths. Rob Pell then talked on life cycle analysis of rare earth project and then Suzanne Shaw of Roskill Information Services gave a view of current and the likely future uses of rare earth elements. There were lots of questions, ranging from geology to requests for investment tips!

On 23 January Frances visited Cardiff University to talk about Rare Earths to the Cardiff Society of Economic Geologists Student Chapter. There was a chance to catch up with CSM alumni now studying PhDs at Cardiff, including Andrew Martin, now doing a PhD with the SoS RARE sister project, TeaSe, who did his MSc dissertation on processing of rare earths at CSM. There was a good attendance for the talk and discussions about how SEG student chapters might promote responsible sourcing of raw materials – watch this space...

The next day, a rather different audience, when Frances gave an invited talk to a meeting convened by the Advanced Propulsion Centre on 'Can we put the 'Z' into EV's' in the famous lecture theatre at the Royal Institution, London. Car manufacturers, research engineers and interested members of the public considered how environmentally friendly electric vehicles can be. Can they have zero carbon? – 'no' said Frances, you can't get something for nothing. The raw materials are often forgotten but their extraction needs energy and needs to be done carefully to ensure environmentally responsible supply of raw materials for environmental technologies. Other talks considered topics such as energy generation for EVs and recycling of lithium ion batteries.

On 15 February Frances widened the topic to talk about Responsible sourcing of metals and minerals to the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall, but of course, managed to work in some rare earths examples to name check 'SoS RARE'.

And most recently, on 8th March was an engagement with in the Nexus centre for gifted and talented science students linked to Camborne International Academy to talk about rare earths. The audience ranged from year 8 to sixth formers and proved an ideal height distribution to line up together and make a graph of the lanthanide contraction!

Frances Wall, March 2017


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