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Researcher Spotlight: Mohan Yellishetty

Mohan Yellishetty, an Associate Professor at Monash University’s Department of Civil Engineering, has nearly three decades of research and academic experience in Australia, India, and the US. Recognised as a leading authority in sustainable mineral resources, A/Prof Yellishetty’s research spans critical minerals, mine rehabilitation and closure, waste utlisation, and more. He co-founded the Critical Minerals Consortium and the Australia-India Critical Minerals Research Hub, and is the Convenor of the Critical Minerals National Industry Group, Australia-India Chamber of Commerce.

What are you working on right now?
Over the last 5 years, my focus has been on creating a community of practice centred on critical minerals, known as the Australia-India Critical Minerals Research Hub (AICMRH). Spearheaded by Monash University and IIT Hyderabad, the Hub promotes collaboration among leading academics, researchers, and industry experts in Australia and India to improve critical mineral exploration and extraction methodologies. 

What gets you excited about work?
Since co-founding the Critical Minerals Consortium at Monash University in 2019, I’ve cultivated robust partnerships within the critical minerals sector, fostering extensive collaboration within a multilateral framework. My vision extends to the establishment of a ‘comprehensive community of practice’ by uniting research, industry, and government stakeholders under the proposed Indo-Pacific Critical Minerals Research Consortium. This consortium aims to build a collaborative network across India, Japan, Korea, the UK, the US, Indonesia, and Malaysia, leveraging collective expertise and resources for impactful research and policy initiatives in the critical minerals sector.

What’s the best part of your work?

The most rewarding aspect of my research lies in its positive impact on both public policy and industry practice. 

Notably, authorative bodies have adopted my recommendations on critical minerals and mine rehabilitation, as seen in various senate reports and in the Critical Minerals Strategy 2023–2030. I attribute this success to my work in transdisciplinary research, both nationally and internationally.

What sparked your interest in your field?
In 2014, I won an Endeavour Award, allowing me to spend four months at Yale University. During this time, I collaborated with Professor Thomas E. Graedel's group and developed a strong interest in their pioneering critical minerals research, especially their methodology. Upon returning, I recruited a PhD student who successfully developed the world's first agent-based dynamic criticality model.

What is your favourite place to visit in India/Australia?
There are so many lovely places in both Australia and India. I loved experiencing the outback and country in Australia, especially many places in the tropics. I have enjoyed visiting places like Coober Pedy and Uluru. India, too, has a number of places ranging from north to south and east to west. I personally like spending time in the thick forests of the Western Ghats. Goa is also a place that I will never forget.

A/Prof. Yellishetty is a panelist in the upcoming 'In Conversation’ for CUTS 40th anniversary on Critical Minerals for Security and Prosperity: The role the Quad should play on the 31 January 2024.  

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