Pre-Conference Workshop | WS03   View all workshops

Critical Minerals: Geological Perspectives for Discovery and Recovery

Date: August 25, 2023

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Location: Hilton London Metropole | London, United Kingdom

Presenters: Richard Herrington, Robin Armstrong, Francesco Putzolu, Reimar Seltmann, Steve Roberts, Frances Wall, and Maria Boni

Attendee Maximum: 45

20% of spaces are reserved for students and offered at a discounted rate.

Fees and Registration


Digital and low carbon technologies use a huge array of ingredients, and these days geologists need to know about ore deposits of the majority of the elements in the Periodic Table. Many of the specialist elements that make our technologies work are critical minerals. A cast of guest speakers will introduce the concept and challenges of criticality and discuss key aspects of the mineral system, exploration techniques, and process mineralogy for their favorite critical minerals, including vanadium and scandium as well as the more "usual suspects" — lithium, cobalt, and rare earths.

Attendees will receive certificates of participation. View all workshops.

About the Presenters


Richard Herrington

London Natural History Museum

Lead workshop convenor is Professor Richard Herrington, Natural History Museum, London. Richard worked as an exploration geologist for seven years and then joined the Natural History Museum in 1991. As a researcher, Richard investigates the mineralogy and behaviour of metals critical for our modern economy in earth systems. He has developed important insights into the role of near surface and deep weathering processes and their role in formation of novel cobalt, rare earth, and lithium deposits. Other interests include investigating the links between mineral deposit formation and the earths geodynamic history and the association of mineral deposit formation and biota in the deep ocean. His work involves collaboration with industry and the results of his research provide new information enabling better and more sustainable mining techniques to be considered.


Maria Boni

University of Napoli

Maria joined the University of Napoli in 1979, following her Ph.D. in Heidelberg (Germany). After becoming Full Professor in Economic Geology, she retired in 2018; currently she is still working in research and collaborates with industry.

As a researcher, Maria has worked mostly on base metals ores in Europe (with the accent on Sardinia) and beyond (mostly in South America and Namibia), as well as on bauxite deposits. Her most recent interests include supergene non-sulphide deposits with their content of trace and critical elements. Recently she has a new focus on the geology and mineralogy of vanadium ores, highlighting Africa.


Stephen Roberts

University of Southampton

Stephen has a long-standing interest in ore forming processes, with specific interests in the formation of sea-floor massive sulfide deposits (Cu-Pb-Zn) and ore formation in sedimentary basins (Cu-Co). Stephen has been particularly active in developing our understanding of ore formation in the Central African Basin, which hosts the largest repository of copper and cobalt on Earth.


Reimar Seltmann

London Natural History Museum

Reimar is Research Leader in Ore Deposits and Founder & Head of CERCAMS at the Natural History Museum. Since 2021 he is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Trinity College Dublin and a Visiting Professor at Ocean University of China, Qingdao and has almost 40 years of experience in studies of ore-bearing granitic systems of Transeurasian metallogenic belts. His special interests are in fluid-saturation textures and magmatic-hydrothermal transition processes of Li-F granite-ore systems but his research covers a wide range of mineral systems (Au, Cu, Sn, U, REE, Li etc.), with regional focus on geodynamic and metallogenic processes in ore districts of accretionary and collisional belts.


Frances Wall

Camborne School of Mines

Frances is Professor of Applied Mineralogy at Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, specialist in rare earth and niobium deposits formation, exploration and processing, now researching on wider aspects of responsible production and stewardship of technology metals, including circular economy involving the whole value chain from exploration onwards.


Robin Armstrong

London Natural History Museum

Robin is Mining Consultancy Leader at the Natural History Museum in London. In a consulting capacity he has authored over 75 reports for the international mining industry across a range of commodities and including regional targeting to deposit scale studies. Academically, he has been an investigator the EC Horizon 2020 FAME and InnovateUK Li4UK Lithium projects. Currently he is an investigator the NERC LIFT project with a specialization on Li-bearing Volcanic-Sedimentary-Systems investigating Jadar (Serbia) and the McDermitt Caldera (NV, USA).


Francesco Putzolu

London Natural History Museum

Francesco is a post-doc researcher at the Natural History Museum working on the NERC-funded Lithium for Future Technology (LiFT) project. Prior to joining the NHM, he obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Naples "Federico II" (Italy), where he studied Co enrichment in laterite systems. His current research focuses on the mineralogical and geochemical footprints of Li in volcano-sedimentary systems and in rare metals granites. The main purpose of his research is defining genetic models of the studied deposits, which will allow aiding the mineral exploration and reaching a better understanding of Li behaviour during the ore-forming processes in the upper crustal environment. Other research interests encompass the behaviour of critical metals in bauxite, Zn-nonsulphide and laterite ores, as well as the genesis of clay-endowed Ni and Zn deposits.


Each session within the Critical Minerals workshop will provide insights to the geological settings of the specific commodity with reference to current sources of production and perspectives for future supply.

Friday, August 25

  • 8:30am - 9:00am: Coffee and networking
  • 9:00am - 9:15am: Introduction
  • 9:15am - 10:15am: Cobalt (Richard Herrington and Steve Roberts)
  • 10:15am - 12:00pm: Rare earths and scandium (Frances Wall)
  • 12:00pm - 12:15pm: Q&A Session
  • 12:15pm - 1:15pm: Lunch
  • 1:15pm - 2:15pm: Lithium from brines to volcano-sedimentary systems (Francesco Putzolu and Robin Armstrong)
  • 2:15pm - 3:15pm: Lithium granite systems and pegmatites (Reimar Seltmann and Kathryn Goodenough)
  • 3:15pm - 3:35pm: Afternoon tea break
  • 3:35pm - 4:25pm: Vanadium (Maria Boni)
  • 4:25pm - 4:45pm: Q&A Session
  • 4:45pm: Workshop wrap up


Early Deadline: June 30, 2023
Regular Deadline: August 11, 2023

  Early Regular
SEG Professional Member US$595 US$595
SEG Student Member US$145 US$145
Non-member US$695 US$695
All prices are in United States dollars (USD). SEG reserves the right to cancel this event should minimum attendance numbers not be met by June 30, 2023. All registrants will be given a full refund should SEG cancel the course. Cancellation policy, event photography, dietary restrictions, and more are detailed in the SEG Conference terms and conditions.