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Aaron Noble

Industry Leader Spotlight

Aaron Noble

Mineral Processing, Critical Mineral Production, Process Design and Optimization

My research focuses on the production of so-called "critical minerals'' from industrial wastes. Critical minerals are essential for modern technology, but they have restrictive supply chains that are subject to considerable risk. The cost-effective and environmentally-friendly technologies developed in my research can provide ways to eliminate long standing environmental liabilities while creating jobs and economic development in disadvantaged communities, all while supporting national security and manufacturing. A true "win-win".

I am a three-time Hokie with a bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. in mining and minerals engineering; all from Virginia Tech. After completing my Ph.D. in 2013, I worked for four years as a faculty member at West Virginia University, then I returned to Virginia Tech in 2017 as an associate professor of mining and minerals engineering and the associate director for the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies. Over the years, I had the opportunity to visit numerous mines and work with companies, colleagues, and students around the world. My personal research funding exceeds 6.8 million dollars, and my work has been cited more than 500 times. I am passionate about teaching. I have been elected Outstanding Instructor for the department in 2013, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022. I received the 2021 Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence as well as the 2022 Certificate of Teaching Excellence. I am also the inaugural recipient of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Academic Career Development Grant (2015) and Outstanding Young Engineer Award (2018).

Something that excites me in my field…
The global impact a new technology can have.

I first discovered a passion for this work…
As an undergraduate student. I was amazed at the scale and complexity of mining engineering problems.

My work impacts society…
By ensuring sustainable and robust supply chains for essential materials.

Honor or award I am most proud of…
The 2021 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence. One of the great privileges of my position is the ability to work alongside exceptional students who are eager to learn.

Best part of working at Virginia Tech…
The amazing faculty and students who are part of this community.

Words of encouragement to an aspiring inventor…
You are only as good as what you've read. The best ideas proceed from a thorough understanding of what others have done.

My favorite quote...
"It is true there is much to be done, and perhaps you are weak-handed; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects." - Benjamin Franklin.

In my free time...
I play video games with my wife and two-year old son. His favorite is Mario Kart. We have also had season football tickets for many years.

My favorite Virginia Tech sports memory...
Watching our miraculous comeback in the 2009 Virginia Tech vs. Nebraska game from the North Endzone.

Media Contact:

Lindsey Haugh

(540) 231-6959

Additional Highlights

Aaron Noble    |    Associate Professor

Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering, Virginia Tech College of Engineering

College of Engineering - faculty bio page