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Notes From TREM’10 – Day Two

Yesterday I published my notes from the first day [1] of the Technology and Rare Earth Metals for National Security and Clean Energy meeting [TREM’10] that took place in Washington D.C. Today in this article are my notes from the second day of the meeting.

The morning kicked off with a keynote address from US Representative Mike Coffman [R-CO], who the day previously had presented the RESTART Act to Congress as the first step in working to pass the proposed Bill into law. The Congressman went through some of the details of the Act.

Unfortunately I had to keep popping in and out of the morning sessions, and I do not have extensive notes from all of those presentations. I was able to hear the keynote address from Marcia McNutt, Director of the United States Geological Survey though. Some of the points that she made:

The second part of the conference on Thursday was devoted to break out sessions, in which the attendees were split into two groups, and assigned moderators who switched with each other half way through the afternoon. The intend of the sessions was to generate an atmosphere for lively and candid further discussions on some of the topics presented for consideration at the conference, as well as the RESTART Act bill that was presented to the US Congress on the day before.  For the most part this approach actually worked, at least with the group in which I participated.

These sessions were conducted confidentially under the Chatham House Rule [2], which states that:

“[w]hen a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

For this reason, I am not at liberty to disclose who said what during these sessions, but I will summarize a few of the comments and points that emerged from the session in which I participated:

The moderators summarized the discussions from the sessions, with a view to presenting a summary of the findings in the form of a white paper to the US Congress.

Overall, TREM’10 was an effective forum, with an unusually diverse range of opinions expressed on the topics at hand, even during sessions when the Chatham House Rule was not enacted. One observation: I tend to get far more value out of so-called panel discussions when the panelists keep any presentations to a minimum, allowing for lots of time for the panelists to actually *discuss* the topics, and to answer attendee questions. Some of the panels at TREM suffered from a lack of such discussion, which was unfortunate. For the most part though, this was not an issue.

That’s it for now!

[First published at RareMetalBlog.]