Critical Minerals in Peace and War

The Lundin-Snider Seminar series


4 to 5:30 p.m., May 2, 2023
  • How critical minerals started (and ended!) both World Wars
  • When is a mineral critical ...and when is it not?
  • Is our current approach future-proof?

Many minerals are critical to civilization, but some are more critical than others! From the University of Arizona, Isabel Barton will talk about how society’s mineral needs have evolved over time, what makes minerals critical or not, and how technological and geopolitical changes can suddenly make a mineral critical – or just as suddenly, render it useless.

Isabel Barton profile

Isabel Barton


Isabel Barton is an Assistant Professor in the Mining & Geological Engineering department at the University of Arizona. Her main research focus is geometallurgy, which brings extractive metallurgy, geology, mineralogy, and mining together to improve the efficiency of resource extraction. She has graduate degrees in ore deposits geology and extractive metallurgy and works with geologists, mineralogists, materials scientists, anthropologists, and many others across campus on interdisciplinary research and teaching initiatives with the School for Mining & Mineral Resources.

This lecture is part of the Lundin-Snider Seminar Series. A recording will be available shortly after the presentation.

How Minerals Made Civilization

The story of the “material basis of civilizations” often gets buried under the more conventional histories of kings, presidents, and social movements. But now, it’s being dug up again. How Minerals Made Civilization, a video series by the University of Arizona’s Mining & Geological Engineering Department and Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources is unearthing all the ways that mineral resources have affected civilizations around the world. All videos were written, produced and narrated by Isabel Barton. Check them out on our YouTube channel