The Science of Mineral Exploration

The Science of Mineral Exploration

October 5-6, 2021
9:00am - 12:00pm MST (UTC-7)
Virtual Event


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Course Overview

This two-day course (3 hours each day) will introduce participants to the discipline of economic geology, focusing on several key areas of importance, including mineral resources within modern society, the processes by which mineral deposits are formed in the Earth's crust, how exploration geologists discover ore deposits, and how mineral resources are evaluated to become economically important mines.

Presenters will emphasize the major trends and evolving challenges of mineral exploration, such as the green economy revolution, cutting-edge technologies applied to exploration, and non-traditional environments for exploration. They will also discuss the emerging skillsets needed for future geologists to succeed, as well as exploration issues related to key environmental, social, and governance factors.

Course Modules

  1. Economic geology and society
  2. Ore forming processes
  3. How do geologists find ore?
  4. Mineral exploration: Recent trends and challenges

The course is designed as an in-depth introduction for geoscience undergraduate and graduate students, but it is also tailored to engage early career professionals, as well as newcomers to the field of economic geology, and those interested, or directly involved in, activities within the mineral sector.

Each theme is interleaved with Q&A sessions in order to foster an informal interaction between the presenters and participants through engaging discussions and an interchange of experiences.

Course Format

This virtual course will contain a total of 6 hours of study, with approximately 3 hours of course work each day. Daily course work will be split into two thematic sessions, which are separated by a brief recess.

Daily Sessions

9:00am - 10:20am
10:30am - 12:00pm

All times are Mountain Standard (UTC-7)

Course content will consist of dynamic presentations and frequent Q&A sessions. All materials will be presented live.



Roberto Xavier

Roberto is a Professor (MS6) of Economic Geology in the Geology and Natural Resources Department of the Institute of Geosciences, University of Campinas (IG/UNICAMP), southeast Brazil. His B.Sc. in Geology was awarded in 1981 by the University of São Paulo (USP, São Paulo, Brazil), where he also received in 1987 a M.Sc. degree in Mineralogy and Petrology. His Ph.D. thesis in Geology/Metallogeny was completed in 1991 at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

Since he joined the Institute of Geosciences - UNICAMP in 1985, his major activities have been particularly focused on teaching, research, and student supervision in themes related to Economic Geology and Mineral Exploration. His main field of investigation has been the understanding of how ore-forming processes operate in the evolution of hydrothermal mineral systems and their major controls in regional and deposit scales, which are critical elements in ore deposit exploration. In this context, he has been the principal investigator of research projects in orogenic gold, magmatic-hydrothermal gold – base metal, and iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) systems in Precambrian cratons and related orogenic belts in Brazil.

From 2007 to 2008 he spent his sabbatical period as a visiting professor at the Economic Geology Research Unit (EGRU) of the James Cook University (Australia). In the period of 1997 to 2005 Roberto was the Associate Director of the IG/UNICAMP, where he also occupied the position of Director between 2013 and 2017. In January 2016 he became the Regional Vice President for South America on behalf of the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) and counselor of the SEG's Education and Training Committee, positions he held until December 2020.

Roberto retired from the IG/UNICAMP in March/2020, but since 2018 he has been the Executive Director of the Agency for the Development and Innovation of the Brazilian Mining Sector (ADIMB).


William Chávez, Jr

William received B.S. degrees in Geology and Mine Engineering from the New México School of Mines in 1977, and M.A. (1980) and Ph.D (1984) degrees in Geology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been Professor of Geological Engineering at Socorro since 1985, with his studies and students describing the alteration-mineralization characteristics of porphyry and epithermal systems, supergene metals mobility and enrichment, and the environmental consequences of minerals utilization.

As a consultant to exploration and mining companies, Dr. Chávez has worked in ore search in Latin America, Central Asia, West Africa, Australia, and western U.S.; he continues to work with exploration companies, offering applied geochemistry workshops, field courses, and ore-targeting exercises.

Dr. Chávez is involved with the Society of Economic Geologists as an Honorary Lecturer, and is a past Thayer Lindsley Lecturer, and International Exchange Lecturer, for the SEG. He has organized and instructed student-dedicated and professional-level workshops and field courses, including SEG Foundation Field Courses and the Michael J. Fitzgerald Student Mapping Course, and is a member of the SEG Education and Training Committee.


Registration will open in early August.

SEG members: Free
Non-members: US$15

Maximum participants: 200

10/5/2021 9:00 AM - 10/6/2021 12:00 PM
Virtual Event

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