2022 Young Persons' Lecture Competition

6 April 2022

Our fifth year MGeol student, Grace Nielson, will represent Scotland at the UK Final of the 2022 Young Persons' Lecture Competition!

Grace is a fifth year MGeol student in the School of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of St Andrews. Her MGeol thesis is focused on the Torridonian Diabaig Formation and it’s implications for the origin of life on land. In Spring 2021 she undertook fieldwork on the Isle of Harris investigating the UHT terranes and rare metal pegmatites of the South Harris Complex, which was generously supported by Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining (IOM3) and Mining Institute of Scotland (MIS) Trust. As a consequence of this project she began working closely with the MIS to help engage students and graduates about the future of the mining industry. Working with MIS has fueled her interest in the net zero transition and what that means for natural resources such as critical metals as well as rekindled her enthusiasm for exploration in the High North and Arctic geopolitics which she has loved reading about since she was wee bearn. 

The future of the arctic: Mineral resources, geopolitics and climate change

The Arctic is commonly thought of as the final frontier when it comes to human exploration and exploitation of Earth’s natural resources. These resources include oil and natural gas, rare-earth metals, and other mineral resources. The vast majority of these deposits are within Arctic state boundaries, however melting sea ice is creating unprecedented access to international waters. The UN states that exploitation of any natural resource beyond the continental shelf of a nation is prohibited, but as more Arctic sea ice melts this is subject to change and major players in the west are making moves to claim these as well as resources on land. Climate change is at the core of access to Arctic resources and it is already effecting the region. This talk will focus on the natural and mineral resources in the Arctic, claims to these resources, and what effect extraction will have on the Arctic region and beyond.