Thomas J. O'Keefe Institute

for Sustainable Supply of Strategic Minerals


The O’Keefe Institute performs basic and applied research to develop technology, methodologies and tools that facilitate sustainable supply of strategic minerals for the United States. The Institute also does science-based policy work that informs government policy on strategic minerals. The Institute leverages state-of-the-art research facilities distributed across the Missouri S&T campus and faculty researchers from several academic departments.

The Institute has five research thrust areas

  1. public policy development related to encouraging the recovery of critical materials from existing and new process streams
  2. development of new processes to recover critical minerals as byproducts from existing processes and new sources
  3. identifying new sources of critical minerals within the United States
  4. life cycle-based criticality assessment of existing and new processes for critical mineral recovery
  5. Sustainability assessment and environmental mitigation of potential hazards of existing and new processes

O'Keefe Institute Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Kwame Awuah-Offei

Dr. Kwame Awuah-Offei      

Director, O'Keefe Institute

Professor of Mining Engineering

  • Mining Engineering
  • Sustainability
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Energy efficiency

Dr. Michael Moats

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

  • Extractive metallurgy
  • Hydrometallurgy
  • Electorefining and electrowinning
  • By-product recovery

Dr. Alanna Krolikowski

Assistant Professor of History and Political Science

  • Political economy of global supply chains
  • International technology and innovation policy
  • U.S.-China trade relations
  • Diversity of regulatory and policy environments

Dr. Marek Locmelis

Assitant Professor of Geology and Geophysics

  • Conceptual exploration targeting
  • Strategic mineral resources
  • Transport and deposition of critical minerals
  • REE from clay minerals

Dr. Lana Alagha

Associate Professor of Mining Engineering

  • Rare earth extraction
  • Froth flotation
  • Mine waste management

Dr. Mark Fitch

Associate Professor of Civil Engineering

  • Mine impacted waters
  • Biochemical reactors
  • Metal remediation
  • Sustainability

Dr. Suzanna Long, PhD, CPEM, F.ASEM, F.IISE

Dean, College of Engineering, University of Idaho

  • Rare earth supply chain management
  • Social Life Cycle Assessment
  • Transportation-logistics of critical materials

Dr. Jonathan Obrist Farner

Assitant Professor of Geology and Geophysics

  • Sedimentology & Stratigraphy
  • Basin analysis
  • Petroleum geology
  • Paleolimnology

Dr. Mahelet Fikru

Associate Professor of Economics

  • Environmental and Resource Economics
  • Energy Economics
  • Industrial Organization
  • Microeconomics