Carl Spandler to present online professorial lecture

A/Prof Carl Spandler

The first speaker in the University of Adelaide's Professorial online lecture program is Associate Professor Carl Spandler, who was recently appointed to the Earth Sciences department. If you have any questions for Carl prior to the lecture, please submit them to

Unearthing rare earths: Why mining critical metals is vital to our future, and why Australia is well placed to profit.

The surging global embrace of high-tech applications and clean energy is accelerating demand for the critical metals that enable these applications. Forty years ago, use of metals such as the rare earth elements were limited to specialist military and industrial applications, whereas today they comprise essential components of electric vehicles, high-powered magnets used in energy generation, and modern computer/ telecommunication systems.

Presently, the world’s supply of rare earth elements is dominated by China, which represents a significant geopolitical risk to the western world, particularly in light of the increasing political and economic tensions between China and the USA. This risk of supply of critical metals is a foremost challenge facing progress of modern society and climate change mitigation.

This talk will briefly review the current status of rare earth element supply and demand, and then will outline the geological conditions required to form rare earth element orebodies in the Earth’s crust. Fortunately, Australia has highly prospective geology for rare earth element orebodies and, hence, has the potential to become a major global supplier of critical metals into the future.

Hear more about our speaker:

Associate Professor Carl Spandler uses petrology and geochemistry to research the evolution of the Earth’s crust and mantle, and the formation of metalliferous ore deposits. His areas of expertise include microanalysis of trace elements and isotopes in minerals within their context in rock formations. His current research focuses on understanding how and where ore deposits of critical metals, such as the rare earth elements, are formed in the Australian continent.



Tagged in critical minerals, critical metals, clean energy technologies