ABOUT METALS, MINERALS & THE ENVIRONMENT

ESI’s Metals, Minerals and the Environment (MME) Program provides the tools, knowledge, and methodologies to address the outsize environmental costs of mining and resource extraction, a monumental challenge for meeting the infrastructure, transportation and consumption needs of the 21st century. Drawing on a deep, multidisciplinary portfolio of MIT research on the extraction and processing of metals and minerals, the MME Program engages directly with some of the largest players in the industry, to help deploy innovative technologies and environmentally and socially conscious business strategies throughout a global supply chain.

Through the MME Program, ESI connects mining companies and other stakeholders with MIT faculty to address challenges in the following areas:

Sustainable Supply Chains

From conflict materials to e-waste, the global trade in metals and minerals can negatively impact  communities from the site of mining to the site of disposal. Improving the tracking of materials, and understanding the upstream and downstream supply chain, can help companies transition from unsustainable or unfair practices while encouraging optimal recycling and reuse.

Social Responsibility

Whether operating in small communities or large urban centers, mines are major economic engines, sources of employment, and shapers of the environment around them. As such, they have a unique responsibility to understand and respect the social and cultural context of their employees and other stakeholders, and the ecological context of their operations.

Clean Energy

Responsible for about 10% of global energy use and more than 1/3 of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions, the metals and minerals industry is increasingly prioritizing emissions reduction. The MME Program explores novel operations and technologies to monitor and mitigate emissions and set science-based reduction targets. Promising technologies include electrolytic and plasma processes, green solvents, more selective separation processes, electrification of transport power and direct metal value recovery from minerals.

Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure

Waste from the metals and minerals industry often needs expensive treatment and long-term storage to mitigate its environmental impact. At the same time, there are opportunities to reduce costs and extract value from waste streams. Technologies to recover high-value materials and improve effluent treatment, as well as novel storage strategies and infrastructure, are among the solutions being developing at MIT.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDUSTRY PARTNERS

The MME Program works hand-in-hand with industry actors and is actively seeking new partnerships and sustainability projects. Companies partnering with ESI through the MME Program will have opportunities to:

  • Interact with MIT research teams to apply tools to real-world situations through a “living lab” model
  • Enroll with online content, webinars and in-person classes fostering hands-on, learning-while-doing experiences for mining engineers and other employees
  • Learn how to leverage advances in robotics, the Internet of Things, processing technology, and data analytics to improve both operational efficiency and social and environmental sustainability
  • Shape research priorities by providing feedback on how ongoing MIT research can fit into real-world operations and advising on future research directions at MIT
  • Participate in in-depth interactions and shared learning opportunities on topics of interest to each company
  • Collaborate on policy development
  • Engage with other leaders in corporate social responsibility to leverage learnings and drive the industry forward
  • Benefit from media releases generated by the MME Program on priority topics

For more information, please contact esi-mine@mit.edu.

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-BeingSDG 6: Clean Water and SanitationSDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergySDG 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthSDG 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureSDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionSDG 13: Climate ActionSDG 14: Life Below WaterSDG 15: Life on Land