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A Rock and A Hard Place

Mineral Choices

Welcome to A Rock and A Hard Place, a podcast brought to you by Mineral Choices. In each episode, Dr Saleem Ali and Thomas Hale speak to experts about the integral but too often hidden role of minerals in our modern world. From complex communications infrastructure to next-generation clean energy solutions, minerals are the key to unlocking a brighter and sustainable future. However, supplying enough minerals to meet the world’s ever-increasing demand is a significant challenge. Stuck with a choice between accelerating conventional mining activities and finding new alternative mineral resources, what is the global solution to this global problem?

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Top 10 A Rock and A Hard Place Episodes

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Join us for another conversation with Dr. Lynda Lawson, Senior Fellow at Queensland University’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI). In this episode, Dr. Lawson highlights the roles of women in ASM and the gendered impacts in both the LSM/ASM sectors. The role women play in mining across many of Dr. Lawson’s field locations are incredibly important, not just from sorting, processing, and mining, but also through rehabilitation to improve former mining sites. Dr. Lawson also highlights some of the serious challenges and unexpected opportunities of empowerment mining provides women. The gendered impacts in mining are important to highlight, especially when trying to formalize the ASM sector and improve ESG challenges in global mining communities. As stated in the first episode, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is that we do not vilify these communities, rather we must take serious action and care when speaking about these issues and the negative impacts our broader policies may have on populations dependent on mineral resource extraction. These are not easy conversations, but they are essential in developing a sustainable mining future.

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03/24/23 • 16 min

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Join us for a timely discussion about the artisanal and small-scale mining sector with Dr. Lynda Lawson, Senior Fellow at Queensland University’s Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI). In this episode we provide a clear definition and description of artisanal mining, small-scale mining, and large-scale mining and the various environmental, social, and governance challenges behind them. Conversations in the news and public discourse have vilified the ASM sector, with photographs of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becoming talking points for politicians when discussing critical mineral supply. Dr. Lawson will point out the important role ASM plays in many communities across the globe and the negative effects that popular commentary have on efforts to improve and reform this sector. With millions of people employed by the sector, serious efforts have been made to formalize and find avenues to support local communities who are involved in local mining.

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03/17/23 • 21 min

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Join us for the second episode with Dr. Anna Broughel as we discuss the importance of not only educating future mining engineers but also international affairs students and political scientists about the mineral challenges facing society. We explore why it is essential that educational institutions in Washington D.C. teach about the mineral security nexus and the upstream challenges behind the energy transition. Anna also emphasizes the importance of energy communication, or the ability for energy economists and thought leaders to be able to traverse both the policy and technical aspects of their work. Finally, Anna concludes with some remarks and words of advice for future energy leaders and why CELI provides young professionals with a strong network to support their future career.

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03/10/23 • 13 min

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Join myself and Dr. Anna Broughel, Director of Energy Leadership at Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI), VP of Communications at the U.S. Association of Energy Economics, and adjunct lecturer in energy economics at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University as we discuss the importance of energy leadership and the nexus of energy policy and material demands. It is essential that aspiring young professionals recognize that all of our energy policies have material demands which can be caught up in political, social, and economic obstacles. Achieving our lofty energy goals requires us to think upstream and recognize that many of these products start in the ground with minerals, which are the building blocks of our shared energy future.

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03/03/23 • 17 min

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In episode two of my conversation with Simon Jowitt, we explore the ongoing geopolitical challenges facing the extractive sector. Whether it is global pandemics, competition with China, human rights challenges, or political insecurity in key mining regions, supply chains are facing increased political attention. It is becoming increasingly difficult as a geologist and mining engineer to be fully isolated to larger political dynamics at play across the mining sector going into the future. Simon also talks about his recent research looking at quantifying global critical mineral supply and some of the gaps and key pieces of evidence his team found during the process.

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02/24/23 • 19 min

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Economic Geology with Simon Jowitt

A Rock and A Hard Place

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02/17/23 • 16 min

Join us for season four of A Rock & A Hard Place! In this first episode, I sit down with Dr. Simon Jowitt, associate professor of economic geology at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. We look at the field of economic geology, or the scientific discipline concerned with the distribution of mineral deposits, the economic considerations involved in their recovery, and the assessment of the reserves available. Simon also discusses some of his latest work on looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the mineral supply chain and how the global pandemic and geopolitical tensions with China may change the way we think about raw materials and their supply chains.

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02/17/23 • 16 min

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10/28/22 • 16 min

Join us on this episode as we speak to Libby Pritchard, the Occupational Health, Safety and Sustainability Director for the National Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association (NSSGA). In this episode we will discuss the role of aggregates (stone, sand, and gravel) in society and how they will literally "pave" the way for the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the energy transition. Whether it is the roads that you will drive your electric vehicle on, the construction materials for the smart cities of tomorrow, or the grit in your toothpaste, aggregates are an essential part of the mining industry.
Libby emphasizes that aggregates have a very unique role given their predominance in the domestic extractive sector and their local community impact. Unlike metal operations, aggregates have to be mined locally as the economic costs to ship and transport become too expensive after 30-50 miles from the mine. This puts aggregate operations as key local players in helping inform the public about the role of mining in society and reducing NIMBY domestically.

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10/28/22 • 16 min

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Join us for part two with Corby Anderson as we discuss the challenges of NIMBY, or "Not In My Backyard," which threatens the successful development of mines and facilities to help reduce foreign influence in material supply chains. Corby also talks about his past work in Ukraine and how disruption to critical supply chains in the region have brought increased awareness around energy independence and mineral supply chain vulnerabilities. Finally, Corby talks about whether or not a fully integrated and independent material supply chain could be possible and if it is truly desirable in a global economy.

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10/14/22 • 11 min

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Corby Anderson, director of both the Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy and the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling at the Colorado School of Mines, joins us once again to discuss some of the generational workforce gaps in the mining sector and the "timeline problem" of domestic critical mineral development. For over 30 years, the US disinvested in the skills necessary to take on todays critical mineral challenges. Now, as universities and geological surveys across the country are tasked with leading the research and producing the workforce to meet national demands, a major timing problem is presenting itself. US policies and government announcements are moving in the right direction, but as Corby notes, it will be highly unlikely for the US to achieve these goals in the limited timespan given as geopolitical tensions across the world rise and regional power dynamics shift. The time to act was yesterday, so today and tomorrow require strong action and mining education to develop a strong domestic mining sector.

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10/07/22 • 15 min

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03/31/23 • 22 min

On this episode, I am joined by Courtney Onstad, a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, studying geoscience communication. Her research focuses on how science communication theory can inform geoscience communication practice, particularly in informal educational settings. Courtney first defines the concept of geoscience communication and how we can best implement it in a variety of academic, professional and public settings. We also discuss the importance of K-12 education and support when it comes to engaging in dialog about critical minerals and the energy transition. Without strong K-12 support, there will continue to be a gap in workforce development in the geoscience and mining field. Finally, Courtney discusses the difference between science communication and the gaps in literature between science communication and the world of geoscience. The clear take away? How scientists talk about their research and engage with both the public and policymakers is crucial when developing the future workforce and ensuring that critical mineral policy is well informed and promotes sustainable practices for the future.

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03/31/23 • 22 min

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FAQ

How many episodes does A Rock and A Hard Place have?

A Rock and A Hard Place currently has 33 episodes available.

What topics does A Rock and A Hard Place cover?

The podcast is about Earth Sciences, Podcasts, Science and Sustainability.

What is the most popular episode on A Rock and A Hard Place?

The episode title 'Gendered Impacts in Mining & Challenges for Women in ASM/LSM with Dr. Lynda Lawson' is the most popular.

What is the average episode length on A Rock and A Hard Place?

The average episode length on A Rock and A Hard Place is 16 minutes.

How often are episodes of A Rock and A Hard Place released?

Episodes of A Rock and A Hard Place are typically released every 7 days.

When was the first episode of A Rock and A Hard Place?

The first episode of A Rock and A Hard Place was released on Jan 14, 2022.

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