Unveiling the Future of Sustainable Mining: A Conversation with Angelina Anani, Pioneering Researcher in Mining Optimization and Innovation

May 3, 2024
Angelina inside a simulator

Angelina Anani holds a BS and PhD from the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Currently an Associate Professor of Mining and Geological Engineering, Dr. Anani has extensive experience in the modeling and optimization of mining systems. Her current research interests include modeling and optimization of mining systems, mine planning and production scheduling, design and management of sustainable mining systems, mine equipment reliability studies, tunneling and underground works, energy, and water efficiency, ethnographic research in mining, application of machine learning in the mining, 3D mining planning, mining supply chain, etc.

What drew you to join the School of Mining & Mineral Resources?

SMMR's mission to ‘transform the way students, professionals, and communities work across boundaries to meet the complex challenges of economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable mineral resources’ is what drew me to it. This aligns with my goals as a researcher and teacher, and I look forward to making impactful changes through SMMR.

What feeds your passion for research and/or teaching?

Like most people in the academy, my passion for research and teaching is fueled by a deep curiosity about our universe and a desire to provide innovative solutions to society's challenges. Research allows me to explore the unknowns, solve mining problems, and push the frontiers of innovation.

Teaching is one of the greatest ways to contribute to society and make a difference. My passion is ignited by the interaction with students and the opportunity to influence and inspire the next generation of thinkers and creators. Every new generation of students keeps me on my toes and often provides new perspectives and challenges for growth. My passion for teaching and research goes hand-in-hand. The students challenge and motivate me to discover new things through research which I integrate into the classroom.

What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing a career in the mining and minerals industry?

My advice to students interested in pursuing a career in the mining and minerals industry is to aim to contribute to the industry in a way that makes a difference in our society. Stay informed of technological advancements such as automation and data analytics, which are transforming the mining industry. Networking with industry professionals (through

SME, WIM, etc conferences and events) and pursuing summer internships can provide invaluable real-world experience and insights. Cultivate a growth mindset and a mindset geared toward sustainability and ethical practices.

Can you tell us about your current research?

In my research lab, I have a lot of problems that are being solved right now by my graduate students, for postdoc, and myself. One part of it is trying to use technology for decision support, so using simulation to determine which fuel types are sustainable in terms of the impact on the environment. We're using technologies such as robots and virtual reality to increase safety in both surface and underground mines.