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2018 Year of Resources

2018 Year of Resources

Themed years are at the heart of the Society’s science strategy, and 2018 was the 'Year of Resources'

In 2018, the Society focussed many of its activities around the themed 'Year of Resources'. This included resource-themed research conferences and public lectures as well out outreach and education activities.

Geology underpins the provision of most natural resources. Locating and extracting raw materials for industrial and consumer products and processes, and fossil fuels for energy, are also major contributors to the economy. New technologies are increasing demand for critical mineral resources such as Rare Earth Elements. 

There are competing pressures on mineral, water and energy resources. Reduced or changed patterns of supply and greater awareness of environmental impacts including climate change can lead to debate and even conflicts over allocation, with implications for economies and for society. 

Challenges lead to opportunities and to innovation. The need to reconcile energy security, sustainability and affordability has stimulated interest in unconventional fossil fuels, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage and renewable energy. Understanding hydrogeology and groundwater contamination is essential to planning for our future water needs, including with regard to the energy sector. 

Research around mineral resources encompasses innovation in exploration, extraction and processing, as we seek improved efficiency and environmentally neutral processes, but is also increasingly framed by academic studies of global geochemical element cycling and behaviour.

Society Conferences


Bryan Lovell Meeting: Mining for the Future

We kicked off the Year of Resources with the second annual Bryan Lovell meeting in late 2017. The meeting on 'Mining for the Future' featured a broad range of talks and thematic sessions covering many aspects of mineral resource needs for the future, particularly in the context of decarbonisation commitments, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and recycling of resources.

You can find out more about this meeting and watch recordings of the talks on the meeting webpage.


Lithium: From exploration to end-user

In early April, the Geological Society hosted a flagship meeting as part of the 2018 Year of Resources on Lithium: From exploration to end-user. The meeting was a fascinating insight into this increasingly important metal, all the way from exploration and extraction to its conversion into high-purity battery grade lithium for its use in Li-ion batteries in everything from smart phones to electric vehicles (EVs) to energy storage. 

Our blog on the meeting delves into some of the background to the increased demand for lithium, what it’s used for, where its extracted and the various concerns around supply security. 


William Smith slideshow image smallWilliam Smith 2018: Mineral resources at the frontier

The 2018 William Smith meeting focussed on exploration for minerals in more extreme and technically-challenging environments. Presentations covered areas such as deep sea mining, mineral prospecting in the Arctic and Antarctic and also the demand for critical metals in future technologies.

You can find out more about the meeting and watch recordings of the talks on the meeting webpage.


Education and Outreach Activities

We produced a number of resources-themed education and outreach materials and activities throughout the Year of Resources which are collected below.


 Factsheets on Mining, Mineral Resources,  

Energy and Water

          Mineral resources card game      

  • Aimed at secondary school students, teachers and the interested public, the education team produced a number of factsheets on resource-related topics:

We also launched a number of educational resources including card games to highlight the role of resources and materials in our every day lives. These included:

  • The Year of Resources online mineral gallery - this showcased a series mineral drawings produced by Dr Hazel Gibson along with information about where they occur, how and where they were first discovered and what are they used for.

​Public Lecture Series on Resources

In 2018 we held a public lecture series at our London offices and also repeated a number of the lectures at other locations around the UK including Belfast, Aberdeen and Newcastle. As in previous years,we ran a set of lectures focussing on the theme of the year. You can find the 2018 set of Year of Resources-themed public lectures available below or you can find those and many more on our YouTube page:

The future of oil and gas - Malcolm Brown, former President of the Geological Society

Close to the edge? Approaching new frontiers for mineral and metal resources - Andrew Bloodworth,  British Geological Survey

The role of the geologist in securing supplies of critical raw materials - Kathryn Moore, Camborne School of Mines 

Gemstones and Jewellery - Ethical resources? - Cally Oldershaw, Geologist, Gemmologist and Earth Science Education Consultant

Making the most of minerals: sustaining society sustainably? - Simon Redfern, University of Cambridge