MIT Conference on Mining, Environment, and Society

September 7–9, 2022 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM ET (VIRTUAL)

In the face of the urgent threat of climate change, economies are undergoing a transition from conventional to renewable sources of energy. What does this mean for the world’s future resource needs? We can expect to see less extraction of coal and oil—but more mining of metals like lithium, copper, cobalt, and nickel, which come with their own social and environmental impacts. This conference will bring together social and natural scientists, policymakers, industry stakeholders, and environmental organizations to examine the nature of these conflicting challenges and explore opportunities to collaborate for solutions.

The event is one of a series led by MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative to examine the environmental and social considerations of specific industries. For more information, please contact:

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Wednesday Sep 7, 2022

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Keynote: Governance and economics of the clean energy transition

speaker TBD

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Panel 1: Innovation for a circular mining economy

Saleem Ali, University of Delaware • Andreas Exner, University of Graz • Eleonore Lebre, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining • Moderator: Elsa Olivetti, MIT

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Panel 2: Critical minerals and sustainability

Daniel Litvin, Environmental Resources Management Group • Natascha Nunes da Cunha, Inter-American Development Bank • Mark Robinson, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative • Jim Wormington, Human Rights Watch • Moderator: Antoine Allanore, MIT

Thursday Sep 8, 2022

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Keynote: Standards and regulations: Are they enough?

Ro Dhawan, International Council on Mining and Metals • Deanna Kemp, Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining • Moderator: Gavin Hilson, University of Surrey

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Panel 3: Decarbonization and climate change adaptation

Willy Kracht, Ministry of Mining, Chile • Kareemah Mohamed, Accenture • Haley St. Dennis, Institute for Human Rights and Business

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Panel 4: Mining impacts on land, water, and atmosphere

Lydia Jennings, University of Arizona • David Purkey, Stockholm Environmental Institute • Noelle Selin, MIT • Andrew Whittle, MIT • Moderator: Aimee Boulanger, Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance

Friday Sep 9, 2022

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Keynote: Local socio-environmental impacts

Anthony Bebbington, Ford Foundation

11:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Panel 5: Artisanal and small-scale mining

Gavin Hilson, University of Surrey • Cassie Hoffman, Conservation X Labs • Libby McDonald, MIT D-Lab • Rachel Perks, World Bank • Moderator: Nicole Smith, Colorado School of Mines

12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Panel 6: Community relations and mining

Jocelyn Fraser, University of British Columbia • Scott Sellwood, Oxfam • Roger Vutsoro, Natural Resources Governance Institute • Moderator: Scott Odell, MIT

Speaker Bios
Saleem Ali

University of Delaware

Saleem H. Ali is Chair and Distinguished Professor of Geography and Spatial Sciences at the University of Delaware, where he also directs the Minerals, Materials and Society program. He is also a member of the United Nations International Resource Panel. Dr. Ali’s latest book is Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life (Oxford Univ. Press 2022). He holds a doctorate from MIT’s Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning; a Masters degree in Environmental Studies from Yale, and a Bachelors (summa cum laude) in Chemistry from Tufts.

Antoine Allanore
Antoine Allanore


Antoine Allanore is Professor of Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After several years of service in the steel industry working on GHG-reduction, he teaches metallurgy in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and conducts research on sustainable metals and minerals processing.

Anthony Bebbington

Ford Foundation

Anthony Bebbington is the International Director of the Natural Resources and Climate Change Program at the Ford Foundation, while on leave from his position as the Milton P. and Alice C. Higgins Professor of Environment and Society at Clark University. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been a Guggenheim Fellow, an Australia Laureate Fellow, an Economic and Social Research Council Professorial Fellow, and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. He has held previous positions at the Universities of Manchester, Melbourne, Colorado and Cambridge, as well as at the World Bank, International Institute for Environment and Development, and the Overseas Development Institute. His research has focused on extractive industry governance, social movements and territorial transformations, and rural civil society and development.

Aimee Boulanger

Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance

Aimee Boulanger serves as Executive Director for the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA). IRMA hosts the Standard for Responsible Mining, the globe’s most comprehensive and rigorous definition of environmental and social responsibility in mining, allowing mines at any level of current performance to engage and show improvement over time. IRMA is governed equally by nonprofit NGOs, labor organizations, and mining affected communities, working alongside private sector mining companies, investors and purchasers of mined materials. Aimee has worked on mining issues for 25 years, with substantial experience in directly affected communities.

Jocelyn Fraser

University of British Columbia

An instructor and research associate, Dr. Jocelyn Fraser focuses on social risk and social responsibility in the international mining sector. She is particularly interested in investigating ways in which mining companies can collaborate with communities to develop a business strategy with parallel goals: improving operational performance while delivering tangible social benefits that advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Currently, Jocelyn leads a working group on stakeholder engagement for the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (CIM), and sits on the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Communities of Interest Panel representing the international development perspective. She is a member of the International Association of Public Participation, the Shared Value Initiative, and the American Academy of Management. Her professional experience includes more than 15 years working with extractive companies to enhance stakeholder engagement, create value and earn social permission for local, national, and international projects.


Cassie Hoffman

Conservation X

Cassie Hoffman is the global development and innovation lead at Conservation X Labs, seeking and implementing innovation applications and opportunities in the field and internationally. She directs the USAID-financed Accelerating Innovation for Artisanal and Small-Scale (ASM) Mining Operations in the Amazon Program, a two-year (2020-2022) innovation project to identify, pilot, test, and scale-up solutions to make ASM more environmentally responsible and socially equitable. Additionally, she leads the Conservation Futures toolkit project, an initiative to develop an open university curriculum aiming to prepare students to develop trailblazing solutions to the extinction crisis. She is a social scientist with expertise in market mechanisms for conservation, community development, and social marketing and behavior change.


Lydia Jennings

University of Arizona

Lydia (she/her), a citizen of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, earned her Bachelors of Science from California State University, Monterey Bay in Environmental Science, Technology and Policy. Lydia now resides in Tucson, Arizona where she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in the Department of Environmental Sciences, with a minor in American Indian Policy. Her research interests are in soil health, environmental remediation, and mining policy. Lydia is a 2014 University of Arizona NIEHS Superfund Program trainee, a 2015 recipient of National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, a 2019 American Geophysical Union “Voices for Science” Fellow, and a 2020 Native Nations Institute Indigenous Data Sovereignty Doctoral Scholar. Lydia is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Community, Environment and Policy at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and is a Data Science Fellow.


Deanna Kemp

University of Queensland Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining

Professor Deanna Kemp is a leading international expert focused on the social and political challenges of the global mining industry. Deanna specializes in industry-engaged social science that bridges company and community perspectives on extractive industries. Particular areas of interest include company-community conflict, displacement and resettlement, and human rights and development challenges. Deanna is also interested in how the global mining industry is organized, resourced and incentivized to respond to these pressing challenges.


Kareemah Mohamed



Scott Odell


Scott is a Postdoctoral Associate in Mining, Environment, and Society in MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative and a Professional Lecturer in George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He has a PhD in Geography from Clark University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Technology, and International Affairs (STIA) from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. His research focuses on climate change, extractive industries, community relations, and development, especially in Latin America.


Elsa Olivetti
Elsa Olivetti


Elsa Olivetti is the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) and co-director of the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on reducing the significant burden of materials production and consumption through increased use of recycled and waste materials; informing the early stage design of new materials for effective scale up; and understanding the implications of policy, new technology development, and manufacturing processes on materials supply chains. Dr. Olivetti received her B.S. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Virginia in 2000 and her Ph.D. in Materials Science Engineering from MIT in 2007.

Rachel Perks
Rachel Perks

World Bank

Rachel has been working in the mining industry for over 20 years with a focus on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) formalization and since 2017 on managing just transition processes for coal communities. Since 2012 she has been working for the World Bank.

Haley St. Dennis
Haley St. Dennis

Institute for Human Rights and Business

As Head of Just Transitions, Haley leads IHRB’s work on responsible climate action, developing an evidence base for stronger norms and standards to guide how companies and industries can responsibly transition to a net-zero world in ways that respect the human rights of the workers and communities affected by the tremendous change underway across every sector and system. Haley has extensive experience in the application of international human rights and responsible business standards within a wide range of industry sectors, including renewable and traditional energy, buildings and construction, sport, ICT, employment and recruitment agencies, apparel, and agriculture.

Andrew Whittle
Andrew Whittle


Andrew J. Whittle, NAE, is Edmund K. Turner Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is a leading expert in geotechnical engineering with broad interests in urban infrastructure. Much of his research has focused on the development and application of constitutive models to represent the complex behavior of soils and their application in predicting the performance of constructed facilities such as urban excavations and tunnels. He has lectured on the principles of Geotechnics in the design, stabilization and performance of tailings storage facilities for the ESI/MINE Workshop (2020) and has recently published a study on the stability of the Brumadinho dam failure (2022).

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