ERE4.3 | Mining the future: new trends and technological advances in mining exploration and production // Novel developments in understanding the petrogenesis of REE resources: Modelling, experimental petrology, mineralogy, and geochemistry
Mining the future: new trends and technological advances in mining exploration and production // Novel developments in understanding the petrogenesis of REE resources: Modelling, experimental petrology, mineralogy, and geochemistry
Co-organized by GI6/NP8/PS1
Convener: Giorgia Stasi | Co-conveners: Hamed PourkhorsandiECSECS, Michael BernerECSECS, Wei ChenECSECS, Sam Broom-FendleyECSECS, Martin Smith, Eva Hartai
| Tue, 25 Apr, 16:15–17:55 (CEST)
Room -2.16
Posters on site
| Attendance Tue, 25 Apr, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)
Hall X4
Posters virtual
| Attendance Tue, 25 Apr, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)
vHall ERE
Orals |
Tue, 16:15
Tue, 14:00
Tue, 14:00
First part - Mining the future

Research and innovation in exploration and mining of raw materials is increasingly focused on the prospect of developing new methods and technologies to reduce the environmental footprint of mineral extraction and exploration.

The robotization of exploration/production platforms, such as robotic autonomous explorers and miners, will allow to reconsider “non-economical” deposits (abandoned, small, ultra-depth), and to open as well towards the autonomous exploration and exploitation of other non-terrestrial bodies, including asteroids and moons.

Technological advances in the production process, included, but not limited to, X-ray sensors, hyper spectral techniques, LIBS, electromagnetic, combined with machine learning, AI models and efficient mechatronic solutions, will pave the way to a green mining industry.

We welcome contributions from researchers working on applied or interdisciplinary studies associated with mining exploration, geophysics, geochemistry, metallurgy, selective mining.

Second part - Novel developments in understanding the petrogenesis of REE resources

As a result of the critical need for rare earth elements (REE) in new technologies, in particular green energy production, the number of geological studies focusing on their ore formation have recently increased. REE deposits form in a variety of igneous and sedimentary environments. However, depending on factors such as relative and absolute REE content, mineralogy of the REE-bearing phases, host rock properties etc., their economic value can vary significantly. In addition to economic geology, REE deposits are ideal laboratories for understanding the elemental and isotopic behaviour of these elements in different geological environments, as well as the petrogenesis of their host rocks (e.g., carbonatites, alkaline igneous rocks, laterites, phosphorites etc.).
In this session, we will discuss new developments in understanding the formation of already known and recently discovered REE deposits. Studies based on different methodologies including new mathematical modelling techniques, field mapping, experimental petrology, mineralogical observations, in-situ and whole rock elemental and isotopic characterization will be discussed.

We welcome submission of studies conducted on different geological environments with different techniques discussing the conditions leading to concentration (and possibly differentiation) of the REE.

Orals: Tue, 25 Apr | Room -2.16

Chairpersons: Giorgia Stasi, Hamed Pourkhorsandi
First part - Mining the future: new trends and technological advances in mining exploration and production
On-site presentation
Moritz Kirsch, Mary Mavroudi, Sam Thiele, Sandra Lorenz, Laura Tusa, René Booysen, Erik Herrmann, Ayoub Fatihi, Robert Möckel, Thomas Dittrich, and Richard Gloaguen

Future mining will increasingly require rapid and informed decisions to optimise ore extraction and valuation. In this context, the use of hyperspectral imaging has been proven to be effective for geological mapping in surface mining operations. The potential of hyperspectral methods in underground mining environments, however, remains underexplored due to challenges associated with illumination and surface water. Our contribution addresses this gap by evaluating different lighting setups and the effect of moisture on the spectral quality of hyperspectral data in a laboratory setup. We also compared three commercially available, visible-near infrared to shortwave infrared sensors to assess their suitability for underground hyperspectral scanning. As a demonstration, we acquired hyperspectral data from three adjacent outcrops in the visitor’s mine of Zinnwald, Germany, where rocks of a Late Variscan Sn-W-Li greisen-type deposit are exposed in representative underground mining conditions. A photogrammetric 3D digital outcrop model was used to correct for illumination effects in the data. We then estimated mineral abundance and lithium content across the mine face employing an adapted workflow that combines quantitative XRD measurements with hyperspectral unmixing techniques. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy was used to validate the results. While there are still challenges to overcome, this study proves that hyperspectral imaging techniques can be applied underground to yield rapid and accurate geological information. This application will pave the way for the safe, digital and automated underground mine of the future.

How to cite: Kirsch, M., Mavroudi, M., Thiele, S., Lorenz, S., Tusa, L., Booysen, R., Herrmann, E., Fatihi, A., Möckel, R., Dittrich, T., and Gloaguen, R.: Hyperspectral mineral mapping for underground mining, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11997,, 2023.

Virtual presentation
Soufiane Hajaj, Abderrazak El Harti, Amine Jellouli, Amin Beiranvand Pour, Saloua Mnissar Himyari, Abderrazak Hamzaoui, Mohamed Khalil Bensalah, Naima Benaouis, and Mazlan Hashim

Recently, hyperspectral datasets recognized a great interest in mineral exploration studies due to their high accuracy in detecting and mapping hydrothermal alteration minerals. Remote and mountainous regions are hardly accessible by geologists, while the spectral richness of imaging spectroscopy could provide detailed information about geology/mineralogy without having a direct contact with the ground surface. The Kerdous inlier in the Anti-Atlas belt of Morocco is recognized by several occurrences of Cu, Pb, Zn Au, Ag, and Mn mineral deposits. This study is carried out in Eastern Kerdous where the abandoned Idikel mine occurs in order to perform a high-resolution mineral potential map using Gamma-Fuzzy logic approach with twenty HyMap-derived layers. The HyMap-based thematic layers were generated using Directed Principal Component Analysis (DPCA), Relative Absorption Band Depth (RBD), and the Mixture Tuned Matched Filtering (MTMF) for pixel/sub-pixel mineral mapping. The hydrothermally altered regions within the study area reveal several Minerals/Mineral mixtures of hematite, illite, kaolinite, montmorillonite, muscovite, topaz, dolomite, and pyrophyllite. Then, the line density map extracted automatically from the HyMap data image was also integrated. The findings of the image processing were validated using field investigation, petrographic, and XRD analysis. This study demonstrates the great potential of the present research methodology and HyMap as a tool for mineral exploitation in similar areas in Morocco's western Anti-Atlas belt.

How to cite: Hajaj, S., El Harti, A., Jellouli, A., Beiranvand Pour, A., Mnissar Himyari, S., Hamzaoui, A., Khalil Bensalah, M., Benaouis, N., and Hashim, M.: HyMap airborne imaging spectroscopy for mineral potential mapping of cupriferous mineralization in a semi-arid region based on pixel/sub-pixel hydrothermal alteration minerals mapping – A case study, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-1642,, 2023.

On-site presentation
Ad Maas, Jorgina Akushika, and Federico Arboleda

This paper presents the development and implementation of a LIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) system based on a robotic arm for fast chemical characterization of blast hole rock cuttings in open pit mining. The system is designed with an open architecture, allowing for the easy integration of additional sensors such as a spectrophotometer and a magnetic susceptibility meter. The use of the LIBS system significantly reduces the time required to characterize the raw material and obtain a broader characterization, including geological characterization. The preliminary results of this development demonstrate the potential of the LIBS system in improving the efficiency and accuracy of rock characterization in open pit mining operations.

How to cite: Maas, A., Akushika, J., and Arboleda, F.: Blast Hole Rock Cuttings analysis: Design and Implementation of an open Architecture LIBS System, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-9090,, 2023.

On-site presentation
Diego Grimani, Lorenzo Bortoloni, Damiano Vallocchia, Maria Garcia Camprubi, and David de Paz

Dig_IT project aims to develop a human-centred IIoT platform connecting the mining ecosystem of assets, environment, and humans to increase mining efficiency: saving costs using optimised scheduling, increasing uptime using predictive operation and maintenance, identifying new revenue opportunities using advanced geological interpretation on exploration mining phase. To address industry needs of minimising accidents, optimising production processes and reducing costs, intelligent systems will provide real-time insights for the enterprise at all operational levels.

Dig_IT follows a market need & technology offer approach aiming at covering all aspects of technical, industrial and business requirements towards a sustainable future in mining. The project’s value chain and concept has been built with the utmost objective to provide new solutions addressing the needs for safety, efficiency and sustainability, bringing innovative and competitive solutions to the mining business, face future challenges regarding standards and legislation, and spread the knowledge to as many sectors of the European extractive industry as possible.

The project aims to achieve several objectives: design and validate a smart Industrial Internet of Things platform to improving efficiency and sustainability of mining operations, achieving on-line measurements of asset-bound mining operations and online distributed measurements for broad area sustainability and occupational work environment, and Big Data optimisation through improving data quality. Furthermore, the project aims to develop Digital Twins of the physical mine entities, systems and processes, a Smart Garment and an Intelligent Toolbox for mining personnel sensing OHSE parameters, a Decision Support System and a Predictive Operation System.

How to cite: Grimani, D., Bortoloni, L., Vallocchia, D., Garcia Camprubi, M., and de Paz, D.: Dig_IT – A human-centred Internet of Things platform for the sustainable digital mine of the future, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-17258,, 2023.

On-site presentation
Norbert Zajzon, Boglárka Anna Topa, Richárd Zolzán Papp, Jussi Aaltonen, José Almeida, Balazs Bodo, Stephen Henley, Marcio Pinto, and Gorazd Zibret

The UX-2 robot of the UNEXMIN technology represents the newest generation of underwater explorers capable of operating in flooded mines and other closed underwater environments meanwhile providing geoscientific information. The technology was developed by an international team of scientists during the UNEXMIN ( Horizon 2020 project (2016–2019) and the UNEXUP ( EIT RawMaterials project (2020–2022). The concept was proven in various environments and the first generation of robots was built in the UNEXMIN project. Besides technological upgrades, the UNEXUP project was focusing also on marketing and commercialization thru UNEXMIN Georobotics Ltd. (, the spin-off of the consortium.

The technology proved its capabilities at numerous flooded sites in various harsh environments during the last years including, abandoned mines, caves, historical sites and even drinking water facilities.

Although very bad visibility was observed in the South Crofty mine, Camborne (UK), the robot could manoeuvre down to -300 m and investigate a narrow shaft relying mainly on sonar-based navigation.

The Csór water well, the main drinking source of Székesfehérvár (Hungary) was another location where the UX technology proved its usefulness and 3D-mapped the well with centimetre accuracy for reconstruction purposes.

In August of 2022, the UX robot created a 3D topography map and continuous water parameter measurements further exploring the flooded karstic cave Hranice Abyss (Czech Republic) down to -450 m – setting up the current word depth record.

Even remote-control and full autonomy were demonstrated in Kőbánya-mine, Budapest, Hungary. During the remote-control test, the Budapest team launched the robot, but the underwater robot operation was done from INESCTEC, Portugal.

Ecton copper mine (UK) used to be the deepest mine of its age in the 18th century, closed and partially flooded for more than 160 years. Now it is a listed National Monument in the UK and is under strict protection within a site of special scientific interest. Here the UX robots proved their value in discovering new workings, connections, and technological solutions helping the archaeologists which could not be recovered by other methods as well as elucidating the geological structure.

The salt mine of Solotvyno, Ukraine was a demanding challenge as the UX robot had to be capable of operating and measuring in freshwater as well as in fully saturated (ca. 330g/l) brine with 1.25 g/cm3 density, which was located below a freshwater layer.

The abandoned fluorspar mine of Würmtal, Pforzheim, Germany was the last site visited within the frame of the UNEXUP project where the UX robot revealed its unique capabilities by exploring a large part of the flooded workings. More than 3 km was covered laterally in a single dive down to the fluorspar vein, and colour- and UV-images of the ore were delivered successfully. UX robot also brought back data, helping to assess the stability of the walls.

The UNEXMIN project was funded by the European Union thru the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the no. 690008 grant agreement.

The UNEXUP project was funded partially by the European Union thru EIT RawMaterials no. 19160.

How to cite: Zajzon, N., Topa, B. A., Papp, R. Z., Aaltonen, J., Almeida, J., Bodo, B., Henley, S., Pinto, M., and Zibret, G.: Underwater measurements with UX robots; a new and available tool developed by UNEXUP, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-17279,, 2023.

On-site presentation
Ferenc Madai, Sibila Borojević Šoštarić, Gabriela Paszkowska, and Nils Jansson

Mineral resource exploration techniques and methodologies have undergone a very strong development in the last decade: e.g. portable and higher sensitive equipment, robotized exploration equipment, and tools for processing and interpreting of large, multidimensional datasets. In order to meeti the raw materials policy goals of the EU, these technologies should also be incorporated in higher education (Mádai, 2022).


TIMREX is a new EIT-Labelled joint master's program to train geoscience students focusing on innovative raw materials prospecting and exploration methods. The consortium consists of four academic partners – University of Miskolc, Hungary, University of Zagreb, Croatia, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland and Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. All four academic partners run their mineral exploration-focussed, geoscience engineering-type master programmes which comprise the ground for the joint master programme. Participating Universities are located within Fennoscandian, Fore-Sudetic and Tethyan/Carpathian-Balkan metallogenic belts hosting numerous primary, secondary and critical mineral resources essential for green transition of Europe. Scandinavian and West Balkan countries holds first and second place according to total mineral resources investments in Europe (data from 2019).


The TIMREX consortium incorporates eight non-academic partners who are at the frontier of mineral resource prospecting and exploration equipment and methodology development in the EU. They represent leading European mining companies such as Boliden Mineral and KGHM, but also SMEs and start-ups such as the Unexmin Georobotics (UGR) and the Geogold Kárpátia Ltd., as well as research institutes such as the Portuguese INESC TEC and the Slovenian Geological Survey (GeoZS).

Non-academic partners are actively involved in the TIMREX joint programme as trainers in field programs, internship mentors or thesis topic providers. Students of the programme can join research and development work at the partners. Examples are development of underwater robotized exploration methodologies (INESC TEC, UGR), drone-based multispectral surveys and complex dataset evaluation (Boliden, KGHM Cuprum, GeoZS, Geogold). The European Federation of Geologists provides a wider network of European prospectors and explorers to the joint programme and contributes to teaching of entrepreneurial skills. Therefore, TIMREX directly address major gaps of the Raw Materials sector: limited availability of qualified technical, scientific and managerial personnel involved in the whole mineral cycle (Borojević Šoštarić et al., 2022) as well as lack of generic skills crucial for increasing the innovation capacity of universities and their graduates (Grgasović and Borojević Šoštarić, 2021).



Borojević Šoštarić, S., Giannakopoulou, S., Adam, K. i Mileusnić, M. (2022). The future of mining in the Adria region: current status, SWOT and Gap analysis of the mineral sector. Geologia Croatica, 75 (Special issue), 317-334.

Grgasović, P.; Šoštarić, S.B. (2021) Systematic Development of Generic Skills to Enhance Innovation Capacity of Eastern and Southeastern European Universities. Mater. Proc.

5, 99, 1-7. materproc2021005099

Mádai F. (2022) Competence requirements of innovation and entrepreneurship oriented training programmes for the mineral exploration sector. In: Veresné Somosi M.; Lipták K.; Harangozó  Zs.(eds) "Mérleg és Kihívások - Fenntarthatóság" Miskolci Egyetem Gazdaságtudományi Kar (2022) pp. 537-547

How to cite: Madai, F., Borojević Šoštarić, S., Paszkowska, G., and Jansson, N.: TIMREX – a European joint master programme to implement innovative mineral exploration achievements in geoscience education, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15053,, 2023.

Second part - Novel developments in understanding the petrogenesis of REE resources: Modelling, experimental petrology, mineralogy, and geochemistry
On-site presentation
Jinkun Yang and Wenlei Song

Rare earth elements (REE) have been a focus of global interest because of their irreplaceable role in developing “low carbon” technologies. The Bayan Obo is the world’s largest REE deposit, but its genesis is still highly debated. It is considered to have a close genetic association with carbonatite due to the presence of the carbonatite dykes around the orefield, as well as the geochemical similarities between these dykes and the orebody. However, the evolution of the carbonatite dykes and their REE mineralization are still poorly understood, hindering the interpretation of the genesis of the deposit. More than 100 carbonatite dykes have been found within the area of 0-3.5km nearby the orebodies of the deposit. These dykes show significant variations in mineralogy and geochemistry and were classified into dolomite (DC) and calcite carbonatite (CC). The rocks show an evolutionary sequence from DC to CC, and their corresponding REE contents increased remarkably, with the latter having very high REE content (REE2O3 up to 20 wt. %). The DC is composed of coarse-grained dolomite, magnetite, calcite, and apatite without apparent REE mineralization. The medium-grained calcites, and significant amounts of REE minerals, such as monazite, bastnäsite, and synchysite, make up CC. The REE minerals have a close relationship with barite, quartz, and aegirine. The REE patterns of dolomite and calcite in DC showed a steep negative slope with a strong LREE enrichment. In contrast, the calcite from CC has a near-flat REE pattern enriched in both LREE and HREE. Besides, apatite and magnetite in CC are characterized by strong REE enrichment compared to those from DC. Based on detailed petrology, mineralogy, and element geochemistry, we propose that strong fractional crystallization of initial carbonatitic melts led the REE enriched in the residual melt/fluid to form REE mineralization. In addition, sulfate, alkalis, and silica components play an important role in REE transportation and precipitation.

How to cite: Yang, J. and Song, W.: Mineralogy, major and trace element geochemistry of rock-forming and rare earth minerals in the Bayan Obo (China) carbonatite dykes: implications for REE mineralization, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-2318,, 2023.

On-site presentation
Fan Yang and Wei Chen

As the world's largest rare earth elements (REEs) deposit, the giant Bayan Obo deposit accounts for more than one third of the world's REEs resources. Fenitization is an alkali metasomatism that widely occurs around the carbonatite dykes at Bayan Obo and recent studies reveal huge quantities of REEs could be transferred from the alkaline magma to fenite (Sokół et al., 2022). However, the contribution of fenitization to REE mineralization at Bayan Obo remains unclear. Here, we present bulk rock chemical compositions, in-situ chemical and C-Sr isotopic investigations of calcite and apatite together with Th-Pb ages of monazite, aiming to provide new constraints on REE mineralization during fenitization.

Carbonatite at Wu dyke is mainly composed of calcite, aegirine and barite associated with REE minerals dominated by bastnasite and parisite, which intruded into the surrounding wall rocks of quartz conglomerate. The associated fenites include the close Na-fenite and faraway K-fenite. Na-fenite contains calcite, riebeckite, aegirine and apatite with minor monazite and bastnasite in association with barite. K-fenite consists of K-feldspar and quartz with accessory riebeckite and albite. Both REE and SO3 contents decrease from the center to the wall rocks. REE are most enriched in the centered carbonatites (up to 7.39 wt%), and Na-fenites also display strong REE enrichment (9876-22492 ppm). Of note, high-grade Na-fenite is characterized by the highest LREE concentrations among fenites, whereas HREE is most enriched in medium-grade Na-fenite. The latter is dominantly controlled by apatite, which hosts abundant HREE (118-677 ppm). Calcite from fenites displays flat REE patterns with more depleted LREE (La/YbN=0.28-3.02) compared to that within carbonatite (La/YbN=1.66-6.52). Th-Pb ages of monazite from fenites cover a wide range from 420 Ma to 1.27 Ga, which suggests these fenites have also undergone the early Paleozoic hydrothermal alteration. In-situ Sr and C isotope analyses of calcite from carbonatite define a limited range (87Sr/86Sr=0.70344 to 0.70358 and δ13C=-4.36 to -5.1 ‰), which are consistent with a mantle origin . 87Sr/86Sr and δ13C values for calcite within Na-fenite show larger variations of 0.70358 to 0.70620 and -4.92 to -9.87 ‰, respectively. Negative shift in δ13C values suggest degassing through the fenitizing reaction of 18CO32-+2Na++3(Mg2+,Fe2+)+2Fe2++8SiO2+24H++0.5O2= Na2(Mg,Fe2+)3Fe3+2Si8O22(OH)2+18CO2+11H2O. More radiogenic Sr isotopic compositions of fenites result from both assimilation of wall rocks during fenitization and the redistribution of Sr isotopes among minerals during the Paleozoic hydrothermal alteration.

Carbonatite-exsolved fenitizing fluids result in predominant REE enrichment within Na-fenite accompanying with light and heavy REE mineralization. LREE mineralization is dominated by monazite precipitation, and HREE enrichment is mostly controlled by apatite. Sulfate is an important ligand for REE transportation and mineralization during fenitization. Barite crystallization and simultaneous precipitation of LREE-bearing minerals lead to fenitizing fluids abundant in HREE, promoting the further formation of HREE-rich apatite.


Sokół K., Finch A.A., Hutchison W., et al., 2022. Quantifying metasomatic high-feld-strength and rare-earth element transport from alkaline magmas. Geology,



How to cite: Yang, F. and Chen, W.: Fenitization associated with the Wu carbonatite dyke at Bayan Obo (Inner Mongolia, China): Implications for REE mineralization, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5183,, 2023.

On-site presentation
Irina Zhukova and Aleksandr Stepanov

Apatite with high REE content is common in alkaline rocks, carbonatites and products of hydrothermal processes. The REE concentrations could enter mineral structure by different substitution mechanisms (Fleet et al., 2000) and the factors controlling the composition of high-REE apatite are not completely understood. New experimental data (Stepanov et al., 2023) show that at 800 °C and 10 kbar apatite crystalizing from felsic melt with addition of NaCl contains 14 wt.% ΣREEOx and coexists with britholite (37.2 wt.% ΣREEOx). The results suggest that equilibrium has been established during the run and both apatite and britholite contained REE in [Si4+REE3+] to [Ca2+P5+] solid solution, whereas the coupled substitution [Na1+REE3+] to [2Ca2+] was insignificant despite crystallisation from an alkaline, Na-rich melt. Coupling of the new experimental data allowed to constrain the width of the miscibility gap between apatite and britholite, and suggest complete miscibility between apatite and britholite above 950 °C. The substitution [Na1+REE3+] apparently develops mainly in apatite replacement reactions. Therefore, REE content and substitution mechanisms could be useful tools for interpretation of magmatic and metasomatic/hydrothermal associations in alkaline volcanic and plutonic rocks.
Fleet, M., Liu, X., Pan, Y., 2000. Rare-earth elements in chlorapatite [Ca-10(PO4)(6)Cl-2]: Uptake, site preference, and degradation of monoclinic structure. American Mineralogist 85, 1437–1446.
Stepanov, A.S., Zhukova, I.A., Jiang, S.-Y., 2023. Experimental constraints on miscibility gap and partitioning between britholite and chlorapatite in alkaline melt. American Mineralogist.

How to cite: Zhukova, I. and Stepanov, A.: Experimental data on REE in apatite in high-REE environments: distinguishing magmatic and metasomatic compositions, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-11255,, 2023.

On-site presentation
Saraah Imran, Ajanta Goswami, Angana Saikia, Hrishikesh Kumar Rai, and Bijan Jyoti Barman


Rare earth elements (REEs) are of high economic value owing to their electronic, magnetic, optical, catalytic, and phosphorescent properties, thereby making them an important part of the development of green technology. They exhibit characteristic sharp absorption features in reflectance spectra in the visible-near infrared (VNIR) to short-wave infrared (SWIR) region due to their 4f-4f orbital intra-configurational electronic transitions.

In this study laboratory based close-range imaging spectroscopy techniques are used along with confirmatory geochemical analytical techniques (petrography, ICPMS, SEM and EPMA) to study 20 samples collected from REE-bearing rocks of the Neoproterozoic Siwana Ring Complex (SRC), a collapsed caldera structure situated in Barmer District, Rajasthan (India).

The SRC is an anorogenic, rift-related bimodal volcano-plutonic rock association belonging to the Malani Igneous Suite. It comprises of felsic and basic volcanic lava flows, rhyolite, peralkaline granite, pyroclastics, tuff and later microgranite, aplite and felsite dykes.

The spectral reflectance curves of the samples collected using an ASD FieldSpec4 (350-2500 nm) exhibit characteristic absorption dips at 439, 491, 580, 740 and 800 nm indicating the presence of Nd3+. Other major absorption dips are attributed to the presence of Sm3+, U4+, etc. Various combinations of absorption features in the VIS-SWIR region indicate the presence of minerals like biotite, epidote, chlorite, nontronite, goethite, and REE fluorocarbonates. The Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectra of the samples collected using a Thermo Fisher Scientific Nicolet 6700 (400-4000 cm-1) show symmetric and asymmetric bending and stretching vibration features of Si-O, P-O and O-H bonds, which are diagnostic of minerals like aegirine, riebeckite, and REE minerals like monazite apart from other major silicate minerals like quartz and feldspar. The presence of these minerals is confirmed by mineral chemistry, bulk and trace element data.

The observations from the spectroscopic studies seem to correlate well with data obtained from various geochemical analyses. This study provides spectroscopic information on the rocks from SRC for the first time. It shows the proficiency of spectroscopic studies as a cost-effective and non-destructive technique for the identification of REE minerals which can be used before detailed geochemical and mineralogical studies as well as future exploration.

Keywords: Siwana Ring Complex, Spectroscopy, REE


ASD – Analytical Spectral Devices, Inc.

EPMA – Electron Probe Micro Analyzer

FTIR – Fourier Transform Infrared

ICPMS – Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry

REE – Rare Earth Elements

SRC – Siwana Ring Complex

SWIR – Short Wave Infrared

VNIR – Visible Near Infrared

How to cite: Imran, S., Goswami, A., Saikia, A., Kumar Rai, H., and Jyoti Barman, B.: Spectroscopic Studies and Confirmatory Geochemical Analyses of Rare Earth Element Bearing Rocks from the Neoproterozoic Siwana Ring Complex, Rajasthan, India, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-71,, 2023.

Posters on site: Tue, 25 Apr, 14:00–15:45 | Hall X4

Chairpersons: Giorgia Stasi, Hamed Pourkhorsandi
Mining the future: new trends and technological advances in mining exploration and production
Hwanjo Baek and Donghui Kim

Underground mining is increasing in Korea, primarily due to the depletion of high quality mineral resources from surface open pit mining, and also due to the fact that environmental regulations are gradually tightened and strengthened. For sustainable mine design, safety and environmental issues are the most important factors forcing more specified and systematic guidelines to secure the stability of the mine openings and adits. However, with complex geological settings and various types of rock discontinuities, a geological mapping process to analyze the behavior of fractured rockmass is generally time-consuming. Information on the geologic structures are often collected by visual observation and analyzed based on two-dimensional drawings. Even worse, very limited and unrepresentative data are collected specially at operating mines leading to unreliable conclusions. Hence, construction of three-dimensional hydrogeological models adopting sophisticated surveying techniques has become a routine site investigation process. Laser scanners of high-end specifications are widely used in Korea. In this study, the Trimble X7 with automatic calibration and in-field registration capability has been used to collect accurate geospatial information at an underground limestone mine adopting the room-and-pillar method, with three drifts 9~12m wide and 6m high. For the two pillars of major stability concern, laser scanning was performed to obtain point-cloud data from which a total of 581 discontinuities were extracted. A discrete fracture network was simulated and the stability was evaluated based on the safety factor and displacement using a numerical model.


How to cite: Baek, H. and Kim, D.: Application of the 3-D laser scanning method for assessing the stability of fractured rockmass at an underground limestone mine in Korea, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-1750,, 2023.

Christian Burlet, Giorgia Stasi, Simon Godon, Roza Gkliva, Laura Piho, and Asko Ristolainen

ROBOMINERS (Bio-Inspired, Modular and Reconfigurable Robot Miners, Grant Agreement No. 820971, is a European project funded by the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. The project aims to test and demonstrate new mining and sensing technologies on a small robot-miner prototype (~1-2T) designed to target unconventional and uneconomical mineral deposits (technology readiness level 4 to 5) (Lopez and al. 2020).

As part of the ROBOMINERS sensor array development, a set of mineralogical and geophysical sensors are designed to provide the necessary data to achieve a “selective mining” ability of the miner to reduce mining waste production and increase productivity of a small mining machine. To achieve this, the robot should have the ability to react and adapt in real time to geological changes as it progresses through a mineralized body. This study focuses on a set of compact sensors designed for ultrahigh-resilience and continuous operation in high pressure/vibrations/temperature environment. They are based on reflectance/fluorescence measurements in the visible/near infrared range, using a broadband light source (tungsten-halogen lamps) in reflectance mode and 365nm UV LED in fluorescence mode. 

The ROBOMINERS reflectance/fluorescence spectrometer “Mk1” was developed in collaboration with Taltech University. The spectrometer is built around a monolithic spectrometer (Hamamatsu C12800MA and a wifi capable microcontroller (Arduino RP2040 Connect).. As the ROBOMINERS prototype will be operated by ROS2 (Robotic Operating System v2 - ), we decided to implement a Micro-ROS publisher on the microcontroller.

The first field trials of the sensor have been carried out in the entrance of abandoned mine (baryte and lead mine, Ave-et-Auffe, Belgium), with the sensor integrated directly in the propulsion mechanism of the “RM3”’ ROBOMINERS prototype. This test allowed to demonstrate the immunity of the sensors to  to shocks, water and dust with no measurable de-calibration of the spectrometer.


Lopes, B. Bodo, C. Rossi, S. Henley, G. Žibret, A. Kot-Niewiadomska, V. Correia, Advances in Geosciences, Volume 54, 2020, 99–108



How to cite: Burlet, C., Stasi, G., Godon, S., Gkliva, R., Piho, L., and Ristolainen, A.: ROBOMINERS resilient reflectance/fluorescence spectrometers, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-12056,, 2023.

Jeongsul Son, Changryol Kim, and Eunseok Bang

Recently, due to the active spread of electric vehicles, the demand for batteries is increasing fast, and for this reason, the exploration for lithium that is an essential mineral for battery production, is increasing. In Korea, lithium exploration is also being conducted around deposits where lithium was identified in the past. However, most lithium mines are located in very rough terrain, so it is not easy to conduct a surface geological and geophysical exploration. Without considering complex topography, errors may occur in the inversion of surface geophysical exploration data, and in particular, it is necessary to use precise topographic information for the three-dimensional inversion. In this study, we would like to introduce a case study using high-resolution topographic data obtained from a drone-mounted LIDAR in the three-dimensional inversion of surface resistivity and IP data conducted for lithium exploration. The target area is the Boam Mine, located in the Middle East of Korea. Surface geophysical exploration was conducted along a road and ridge of the mountain, which are relatively easy to set up the survey line. Because existing topographic maps that are publically available did not include mining traces related to mining development and topographical changes formed by nearby roads, it is not adequate for the 3D inversion of surface resistivity and IP data. To acquire precise topographical information, aerial photography and LIDAR measurements using drones were performed. A numerical topographic model was constructed using the obtained high-precision DEM (digital elevation map). By applying this to the three-dimensional inversion, the distribution of the underground mineralization zone was estimated. The interpreted results were compared with the existing drilling results performed near the mine. Comparing the two results, drilling surveys using only surface geological information proceeded in the direction in which the mineralization zone did not develop. Drone LIDAR measurement is a costly exploration method and is difficult to use actively at all exploration sites. However, if three-dimensional inversion is required where the surface topography is very complex, as in this survey area, it could give more reliable inversion results.

How to cite: Son, J., Kim, C., and Bang, E.: Three-dimensional interpretation of DC resistivity/IP survey for Lithium exploration using high-precision topographic information from drone-mounted LIDAR., EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-10680,, 2023.

Sandra Lorenz, Moritz Kirsch, Margret Fuchs, Sam Thiele, and Richard Gloaguen

Geological face mapping is a frequently recurring task in mining operations, the results of which have an immediate influence on the mines’ profitability, safety, and environmental impact. Hyperspectral imaging is an increasingly applied technology to improve the efficiency and accuracy of mapping tasks. The rapid and non-destructive acquisition of spectral material properties allows meaningful material information such as mineralogical surface composition to be obtained in a safe and efficient manner. The fusion product of backprojected hyperspectral data with 3D surface information (so-called “hyperclouds”) further enhances the data value by enabling easier data correction, integration, and implementation into digital archives and models. Mining environments, however, remain a challenge for operational hyperspectral mapping, particularly underground where inadequate lighting, access, and safety of operation make data collection difficult. Data processing and interpretation require expert knowledge and are typically performed semi-manually and offline. To be economically viable in such mining environments, the hypercloud technology has to mature toward autonomy and real-time delivery of results. In recent years, terrestrial autonomous platforms have entered the market that are suited to the challenging conditions of underground mining and can maneuver and navigate even in confined, uneven, and poorly lit environments. They provide optimal carriers for hyperspectral sensors, which have simultaneously evolved into lighter, faster, and more robust devices. However, implementing hyperspectral sensors as payload for terrestrial autonomous robots remains challenging, especially in terms of  technical compatibility, ensuring data quality under complex conditions,  and processing large amounts of data quickly and autonomously. In our contribution, we demonstrate the potential of autonomous terrestrial robots combined with hyperspectral technology and advanced data processing for the automation of geological mapping. We present results of hyperspectral data acquisition using an autonomous robotic platform in a confined underground mining environment and discuss strategies for adapted sensor design, autonomous validation, real-time hypercloud processing, and enhanced autonomous navigation supported by hyperspectral information. 

How to cite: Lorenz, S., Kirsch, M., Fuchs, M., Thiele, S., and Gloaguen, R.: Robot-aided autonomous hyperspectral mapping in mining environments, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13899,, 2023.

Damian Braize, Julien Sfalcin, Matteo Lupi, Kalin Kouzmanov, Andrea Dini, and Gianfranco Morelli

To face the growing demand for raw materials, the discovery of new mineral deposits is essential for the future. Geophysical methods, and in particular electrical and electromagnetic tools, have an important role in mineral exploration. Recently, new technological developments made possible targetting deeper ore bodies and large areas with logistical challenges. We use the Deep Electrical Resistivity Tomography (DERT) method to investigate its application in mineral exploration. In particular, we use the Fullwaver technology developed by IRIS Instruments to study the full 3D resistive structure of the Calamita distal Fe-skarn deposit, Elba Island, Italy. This innovative hardware allows a full 3D deployment of autonomous and cable-less receivers and contrasts with traditional resistivity methods by its easy set-up and applicability in difficult contexts.

In November 2022, a 3D DERT survey has been carried out to investigate the Calamita deposit, consisting of massive magnetite-hematite ore bodies hosted in marbles overlaying micaschists of Tuscan Units. Skarn mineralogy/geochemistry and fluid inclusion characteristics suggest a magmatic source for the mineralizing fluids. 148 current injections have been performed on 48 receivers over an area of 2km² with the aim to reach exploration depths ranging from 600 m to 700 m. Geophysical data were combined with a high-resolution 3D Digital Elevation Model acquired by standard and thermal drone imagery.

The 3D inverted resistivity and induced polarization models match with the surface geology and shallow exploration drill hole data and highlight the architecture of Calamita deposit. Strong resistivity contrasts reveal the presence of sub-vertical conductive and chargeable pipes connecting the different skarn bodies at depth, interpreted to represent the paleo-hydrothermal upflow zones. The pipes point towards the inferred cupola of a magmatic intrusion that potentially triggered the formation of the ore deposit. High chargeability anomalies suggest the presence of hidden massive ore bodies and disseminated mineralisation on the flanks of the system.

DERT has the potential to investigate and explore mineral deposits in full 3D, with high sensitivity, and in logistically complex settings.

How to cite: Braize, D., Sfalcin, J., Lupi, M., Kouzmanov, K., Dini, A., and Morelli, G.: Deep Electrical Resistivity Tomography as a mineral exploration tool: the Calamita distal Fe-skarn, Elba Island (Italy), EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-16567,, 2023.

Changyoon Lee, Yuri Kim, Yoon-Mi Kim, Sung Kyung Hong, and Seok-Hwi Hong

Gamma ray is routinely used for correlation, evaluation or classification of minerals and rocks on continent and ocean. Using natural gamma radiation (NGR) derived from Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and Ocean Drilling Program (ODP), this study focuses on the correlation between lithology and REE (Rare Earth Element)-bearing sediments in two deep-sea areas, IODP Expedition 329 in the Southwest Pacific and ODP Leg 199 Sites in the Northeast Pacific basins, where values of the REEs are abundant. Deep-sea sediments are consisting mainly of clays, calcareous oozes and siliceous oozes. As a result of the correlation, the REEs prefer to the clays rather than oozes and high values of the REEs correspond with intervals of the clays where the upper sediments (0–70 mbsf) are. The clays show relatively high values of the gamma radiation and the differences between significant elements (Th, U and K) for gamma radiation, derived from geochemical analysis at every site, show two trends reflecting characteristics of regions. Therefore we suggest that the gamma radiation is fully useful for detecting REEs in the deep-sea sediments and plays a role as a predictable tool for finding quantitative REEs. 

How to cite: Lee, C., Kim, Y., Kim, Y.-M., Hong, S. K., and Hong, S.-H.: Gamma radiation for rare earth elements (REEs) in deep-sea sediments, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4661,, 2023.

Novel developments in understanding the petrogenesis of REE resources: Modelling, experimental petrology, mineralogy, and geochemistry
Changryol Kim, Jeongsul Son, Eunseok Bang, Gyesoon Park, and Bona Kim

Recently, the demands for energy storage minerals such as vanadium and lithium are increasing as the use of the batteries for electrical vehicles has increased. Vanadium is one of the energy storage minerals occurred in Korea. In this study, vanadium mineralized zones of the ore deposit, named as Gwanin deposit, was investigated using geophysical exploration techniques. The mineralized zone is known as vanadiferous titanomagnetite (VTM) deposit, originated from pre-cambrian igneous intrusions (850-870 m.a.), located in the northwest region of Korea. Since the vanadium has occurred along with magnetite (low electrical resistivity and high magnetic susceptibility) in the study area, geophysical exploration techniques such as magnetic and electrical resistivity surveys were employed. For magnetic exploration, the drone magnetic survey technique was used since it provides more precise and higher resolution data than any other aerial magnetic exploration techniques for relatively small and mountainous areas. In addition, electrical resistivity data were obtained from the six survey lines in the study area. 3D inversion was performed with magnetic and resistivity data. The anomaly zones of low electrical resistivities and high magnetic susceptibilities were interpreted as VTM mineralized zones from the two different inversion results. The mineralized zones were identified from the drilling investigation for overlapping locations of the anomaly zones. The results of the study have shown that magnetic and electrical resistivity techniques are very effective tools for exploring ore deposits of vanadium resource accompanied with magnetite. In the future, drone magnetic exploration technique combined with other (surface) geophysical exploration techniques would provide more effective results of precise geophysical surveys for relatively small and mountainous areas with similar ore deposit environments.

How to cite: Kim, C., Son, J., Bang, E., Park, G., and Kim, B.: Investigations of Vanadiferous Titanomagnetite Deposit using Drone Magnetic and Electrical Resistivity Surveys in Korea, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-10689,, 2023.

Hamed Pourkhorsandi, Vinciane Debaille, Sophie Decrée, Jeroen de Jong, Ali Yaraghi, Georges Ndzana, Martin Smith, Kathryn Goodenough, and Jindřich Kynický

The increasing global demand for the rare earth elements (REE), that are critical for green energy production, justifies the necessity of understanding REE ore formation processes [1]. The main type of REE mineralization is mostly found in association with carbonatites and alkaline rocks [1,2]. In addition, in some cases the REE can also reach economical levels in secondary products called supergene REE resources [3]. Primary ore mineralizations mostly are composed of mineral phases that are highly unstable and easily soluble in the near-surface conditions in time. The secondary concentration of the REE in weathering regolith into economic deposits is more favourable than those in primary igneous rocks. As the main source of global heavy-REE, weathering deposits in southern China are the most studied ores of this type [4]. Recently, because of the recent surge in REE deposit exploration and their geological importance, other potentially similar deposits are being studied worldwide. Most of these works focus on mineralogical and elemental aspects of these systems. However, those weathering (in cooperation with alteration) systems are complex and a lot of questions on their formation remain unanswered.

In this work, we focus on the isotopic characterization of regolith hosted REE deposits. To better understand their formation, we utilize stable 88Sr/86Sr and radiogenic 87Sr/86Sr ratios, which have been used widely in understanding chemical weathering [5]. Mainly controlled by the incongruent weathering of primary minerals, Sr isotopes can help to identify the sources involved and the main factors affecting regolith hosted REE deposit formation. Strontium is especially important because, as Ca and K, it occurs in different REE-bearing primary and secondary minerals such as carbonates, ancylite, apatite, clays etc.

We will present different regolith profiles’ Sr isotopic data from Asia and Africa. Combining with the elemental and mineralogical data, we will devise a formation model for regolith hosted REE deposits.

References: [1] Goodenough et al. (2016) Ore Geo. Rev., 72, 838. [2] Chakhmouradian & Zaitsev (2012) Elements 8, 347. [3] Estrade et al. (2019) Ore Geo. Rev., 112, 103027. [4] Li et al. (2019) Econ. Geol., 114, 541. [5] Pett-Ridge et al. (2009) GCA, 73, 25.


How to cite: Pourkhorsandi, H., Debaille, V., Decrée, S., de Jong, J., Yaraghi, A., Ndzana, G., Smith, M., Goodenough, K., and Kynický, J.: Radiogenic and stable Sr isotope geochemistry of regolith hosted REE deposits: a preliminary report, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-3180,, 2023.

Wei Chen, Fan Yang, and Jue Lu

Carbonatites are known to host over 95% of light rare earth element (REE) resource, and the REEs are commonly hosted in minerals with well-established extraction methods. Most REE mineralized carbonatites are associated with hydrothermal alteration/recrystallization. Identifying the source composition and role of recrystallization is crucial for understanding the formation of the giant carbonatite-associated REE deposit. Here we report the first in-situ carbon and magnesium isotopic compositions for the hosting dolomite in the Bayan Obo deposit.

In-situ carbon isotope analyses of dolomite from the coarse-grained (CM), fine-grained (FM) and heterogeneous-grained (HM) samples show a wide range of δ13C values (-5.19‰ to 2.08‰), which is distinct from the common mantle-derived carbonatite and slightly overlaps the range of sedimentary carbonate. CM dolomite displays almost homogeneous carbon isotope compositions (δ13C=-1.29‰ to 0.16‰) with the average δ13C of -0.82‰. Recrystallized dolomites from both FM and HM samples vary greatly, and FM dolomite generally displays a heavier δ13C range (-3.94‰ to 2.08‰) compared to that for HM dolomite (-5.19‰ to 0.64‰). CM dolomite also shows relative consistent Mg isotope compositions in the range of -0.27‰ to 0.05‰ with an average of -0.10‰, which is similar to the mantle value. δ26Mg values of FM and HM dolomites vary greatly from -1.18‰ to 0.06% with averages of -0.40‰ and -0.32‰, which are lighter compared to that of CM dolomite. The recrystallized dolomites (FM and HM) are characterized by depleted light REE (LREE) and increased Pb/CeN features compared to the pristine dolomite (CM). Moreover, the LREE depletion and Pb/CeN increase correlate with the lighter Mg isotope compositions. The highly variable C isotopes recorded by FM and HM dolomites (lighter or heavier compared to the pristine dolomite) involve both recrystallization and degassing. The combined in-situ Mg and C isotope compositions of the pristine dolomite suggest the Bayan Obo carbonatite sourced from the mantle previously fertilized by fluids derived from the carbonate-bearing subduction slab.

How to cite: Chen, W., Yang, F., and Lu, J.: In-situ C and Mg isotopes of dolomite from the giant Bayan Obo REE deposit: Implications for recrystallization and recycled carbonate in the source, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-4823,, 2023.

Josep Roqué-Rosell, Pablo Granado, Juan Diego Martín-Martín, Jordi Ibáñez-Insa,, Ivanna Pérez Bustos, Roger Roca-Miró, and Abigail Jiménez Franco

Karstic bauxite deposits are the main resource of aluminum in Europe and are formed through a combination of weathering, leaching, and deposition processes known as bauxitization. Bauxites have recently been proposed as unconventional resources of rare-earth elements (REE) as well. The studied karstic bauxite deposits are located on the salt-detached Serres Marginals thrust sheet, at the external most unit of the south-central Pyrenees (Catalonia, NE Spain). The Pyrenean bauxites are found overlaying and filling karstic surfaces forming aligned pockets up to several meters thick. These deposits have been mined for more than 20 years and present high variability in SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 contents. Here, we characterize these deposits for the first time by a combination of field geology, XRD, FTIR and XRF to determine their formation, mineralogy, and geochemistry and to understand the causes affecting their compositional variations. Field data indicate that the bauxite deposits fill a paleokarst system affecting Dogger dolostones and/or Tithonian-Berriasian limestones. XRD data indicate that the studied karstic bauxites are mainly composed of Al-rich minerals kaolinite and boehmite, in addition to the Fe-oxide hematite, and lesser amounts of the Ti-oxides rutile and anatase. The detailed study of the FTIR spectra also confirmed the presence of diaspore and dickite. XRF data confirm the presence of varying amounts of Al, Fe and Si in addition to varying low contents of REE. These results suggest that boehmite was formed first during bauxitization and later transformed to diaspore, kaolinite and finally to dickite upon metasomatism. The presence of dickite in faults and fractures provides a direct proof for such fluid circulation. Our results suggest that the mechanisms responsible of the compositional variations in karstic bauxites are rather complex and fall beyond the standard bauxitization processes. The observed metasomatism should be further assessed, since the inferred fluid-rock interactions are susceptible to affect and mobilize REE not only in the south-central Pyrenees karstic bauxites but elsewhere in similar geological settings.

How to cite: Roqué-Rosell, J., Granado, P., Martín-Martín, J. D., Ibáñez-Insa,, J., Pérez Bustos, I., Roca-Miró, R., and Jiménez Franco, A.: The metasomatism affecting karstic bauxites from the south-central Pyrenees, Catalonia (NE Spain) and its implications on the REE geochemistry in similar geological settings., EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-8008,, 2023.

Martin Smith, Charles Beard, Isaac Watkins, Sam Broom-Fendley, Frances Wall, Xu Cheng, Yan Liu, Wei Chen, and Jindrich Kynicky

The rare earth elements (REE), and in particular neodymium and dysprosium, are essential for the development of renewable energy. At present the REE are sourced from either low concentration weathered granitoid (ion adsorption clay) deposits in southern China, or from high concentration carbonatite-related deposits [1], especially the World’s dominant REE mine at Bayan Obo, China, but also including the Mt Weld weathered carbonatite, Australia. Weathered carbonatites (e.g. Tomtor, Russia; Mount Weld, Australia) are some of the world’s highest grade REE deposits. As part of the NERC Global Partnerships Seedcorn fund project WREED, we have carried out preliminary investigations in weathering products from carbonatite hosted REE deposits. Three end member deposit styles can be identified – in situ residual deposits, where carbonate dissolution has generated primary REE mineral enrichment on palaeosurfaces or in karst; supergene enrichment from dissolution and reprecipitation of REE phosphates and fluorcarbonates forming hydrated phosphates or authigenic carbonate minerals; clay and oxide caps (either from in situ weathering or from soil transport from surrounding rocks) that may hold the REE adsorbed to mineral surfaces (c.f. the ion adsorption deposits). High grade weathered carbonatite deposits typically consist of supergene horizons, that may be phosphate-rich due to dissolution and re-precipitation of apatite and monazite during the weathering process (Mount Weld [2][3]), overlain by later sediments that may be REE enriched by accumulation of residual minerals (e.g. Tomtor [4]). The mineralogy of the ore zone is linked to, but distinct from, the unweathered carbonatite rock, and includes phosphates, crandallite-group minerals, carbonates and fluorcarbonates and oxides. We have carried out leaching studies, SEM examination and XPS characterisation of soil and weathered rock samples from a range of deposits. Residual and supergene processes can result in enrichments up to 100x times bedrock concentrations, with residual enrichments in particular hosted in monazite and bastnäsite. Supergene enrichment results in more complex mineralogy which may present processing challenges. Clay-rich soils have much lower REE concentrations. However, sequential leaching studies demonstrate that a significant proportion of REE are present at trace levels in the oxide fraction in residual and supergene deposits. In clay caps the easily leachable fraction of REE matches that of ion adsorption deposits and may represent a potentially easily extractable resource.



[1] Wall and Chakhmouradian, 2012, Elements 8, 333-340;

[2] Duncan and Willett, 1990, Geology of Mineral Deposits of Australia pp. 591-597;

[3] Lottermoser, 1990, Lithos 24, 151-167;

[4] Kravchenko and Pokrovsky, 1995, Econ. Geol. 90, 676-689;

How to cite: Smith, M., Beard, C., Watkins, I., Broom-Fendley, S., Wall, F., Cheng, X., Liu, Y., Chen, W., and Kynicky, J.: The surface chemistry of carbonatite soils: Implications for REE resources., EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13081,, 2023.

Posters virtual: Tue, 25 Apr, 14:00–15:45 | vHall ERE

Mining the future: new trends and technological advances in mining exploration and production
Chloe Gemmell, David Currie, Iain Neill, Josh Einsle, and Careen MacRae

Following the British Geological Survey’s (BGS) 1970s – 1990s Mineral Reconnaissance Programme (MRP), there has been limited characterisation and quantification of base and precious metal mineralisation in the UK, with the notable exception of Au. Data gaps still exist regarding mineral paragenesis, geochronology, deportment of critical raw materials (CRM), and ore forming processes. With increased focus on CRM, NetZero, and supply risk we must improve our knowledge of deportment in base metal systems. The BGS Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre (CMIC) was recently established to aid the UK in meeting projected future CRM demand and will act as a nexus for industry and academia. Here, we establish a workflow and document a case study where academia and the CMIC have partnered to re-evaluate a potential mineral resource, a starting point for renewed studies elsewhere in the UK. 

The Black Stockarton Moor (BSM) post-subduction porphyry Cu system is thought to have formed by interaction of Devonian plutonic to sub-volcanic complexes with Silurian turbidites in the Southern Uplands of Scotland. No study of the BSM has been undertaken since the 1979 MRP report, thus whether it is of any modern value remains unproven. Field sampling and utilising the National Geological Repository at BGS will allow for optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to quantitatively establish paragenesis and primary mineralogy. Sites will then be identified for chemical mapping to quantify CRM deportment in base metals using SEM-energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), with areas of particular interest further quantified by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Focused ion beam (FIB) nano-tomography will be used to identify the cm to nano-scale distribution of CRM. Finally, magmatism and mineralisation will be fully temporally constrained using U-Pb analysis of zircon, titanite, calcite and epidote and/or Re-Os analysis of sulphides as appropriate. On a large scale, this study will address one set of data gaps by re-invigorating our knowledge of the geology and geodynamic associations of mineralisation. However, by also identifying the quantities and associations of metals at the cm to micron scale, it addresses another, by constraining the extent and nature of processes responsible for the distribution of metals in such deposits. This workflow is to be refined for application to mineralisation elsewhere in the UK including work underway on the Strontian Caledonian granite and associated Pb-Zn mineralisation in the Northern Scottish Highlands.

How to cite: Gemmell, C., Currie, D., Neill, I., Einsle, J., and MacRae, C.: Re-evaluating Caledonian magmatism and associated base metal mineralisation: a case study of the Black Stockarton Moor porphyry copper system, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15445,, 2023.