Oct. 31, 2023

UCalgary Law students to co-host workshop on geopolitics and regulation of critical minerals

Free online workshop Nov. 9 will feature keynote speakers from industry, sessions exploring our energy future and the digital economy
An illustration of three mining trucks.

Dr. Elizabeth Steyn and students in her Critical Minerals class in the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law will host a virtual workshop where students and industry speakers will present information on critical mineral law.

Critical Minerals, Regulatory Frameworks and Geopolitics: A Student-Industry Workshop is set for Nov. 9 and anyone can register for free to attend online. Steyn, LLD, who is an assistant professor, says the workshop will have something for everyone and one does not need to be an expert on critical minerals — defined as minerals key to the future of energy, the digital economy or other strategic uses — to attend.

The workshop will feature 12 student speakers, 12 industry speakers and two keynote speakers. The keynote speakers are Andrew D. House of Fasken Global Mining Group and Dr. Steven Freeland, PhD, of Western Sydney University.  

Steyn says this workshop will give her students a unique learning experience.

Elizabeth Steyn

Dr. Elizabeth Steyn

“We have everything from people looking at national-security aspects and working with lawyers on national-security deals, to physical scientific aspects such as recovery of value from waste — looking at the recovery of, for instance, lithium from oil brines,” she says. “So, the experiential learning that they get from dealing with an industry person like that is something that's very hard to give to them in a structured classroom setup.” 

The workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., however, attendees will be able to pop in and out for the talks that pique their interest. Thanks to its online format, the workshop will also be able to host many speakers from places such as Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Nova Scotia, Missouri, Florida and Australia.

Steyn says the workshop will also put students ahead of the game in their future careers in law, and she’s not aware of any other law school that has a course in critical minerals.

This means today’s students are really at the forefront of a whole new development in law, Steyn says. “If we think of mining laws (as) the happening area, really, the cutting-edge areas would be critical minerals, deep-sea mining and space mining,” she says. “And the students in this workshop will be dealing with all three of these topics. And so, yes, I think it prepares them for their careers.”

The workshop is co-sponsored by Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP and the Canadian Institute for Resources Law (CIRL).

For the full program and to sign up, visit the registration page.

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