Geology BSc

Minerals, Metals and Materials for Sustainable Futures EARTH4083

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Theoretical and practical understanding of ore-forming processes and materials, including metals critical to our Net Zero future. We will explore ore formation from deep in the Earth to ongoing processes in the present day such as hydrothermal vent systems. We learn about what constitutes an ore, and the principles of how they form. We also discuss their exploration, sustainable extraction techniques and environmental stewardship.


Two x 3 hr workshops per week for 5 weeks (2 hr lecture and 1 hr lab per workshop). Two local 1 day field classes.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4005 - Economic Minerals


Practical Skills Assessment  - 40%; (ILO2)

Technical exploration and appraisal report - 50%; (IILO 1, 3)

Oral presentation -10% (ILO 3,4,5)

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

To develop an understanding of the origins of and exploration for ore deposits and industrial minerals, in particular critical metals, and their sustainable extraction and processing for the future supply of raw materials.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ To explain the nature, origin and geological setting of ore (especially critical metals) and industrial mineral deposits and the key concepts of their genesis (e.g. source of metals, origin of fluids, depositional conditions);

■ To identify and evaluate economically relevant geological materials in hand-specimen and assess their geological associations;

■ To critically appraise the economic significance and viability and 'criticality' of ore deposits and industrial mineral accumulations within various geological environments using a variety of field, analytical and spatial datasets;

■ To evaluate techniques used in the exploration for minerals, metals and other bulk materials, and their sustainable future extraction, processing and remediation;

■ To discuss the mining life cycle, from exploration to closure and remediation, including the role of local communities.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.