CERSA Metals

St Andrews has been a hub of exploration in metals for many decades, and in the 1980s was, for example, the host of the Nigerian Granites Project, which opened up exploration in rare elements in Northern Nigeria and Niger. CERSA Metals is the commercial arm of the Department’s research activities in the formation of metal deposits. It has three subthemes:

 

  • CERSA Rare Metals: Many of the world’s critical rare element reserves are found within alkaline rocks and pegmatites. Understanding the petrogenesis and evolution of such deposits is crucial to being able to anticipate fully the grade, generate resource models and anticipate the ease of extraction of rare element deposits. CERSA Rare Metals uses the research profile of the Department in alkaline and layered igneous rocks (Finch, Donaldson, Stephens) to constrain the origins of rare element deposits. In addition, Herd has decades of experience on electron microscopy of rare element-bearing minerals including an MPhil on pyrochlore group minerals. Baldwin is a visiting researcher within CERSA whose PhD was on Nb and Ta minerals from Namibia.
    Previous work has ranged from desk studies of potential areas for new exploration, evaluations of properties, petrographic and mineralogical characterisation of acquisitions and assistance in developing resource models. We have studied rocks considered as potential deposits for Zirconium, Niobium and Tantalum. Minerals that have been the focus of our work include pyrochlore, tantalite, betafite, eudialyte, fersmite.

Clients have included: Angus & Ross plc, Hunter & Dickinson, Taseko Mines, Red Rock Resources plc, Tanbreez A/S
 

  • CERSA Rare Earths: Rare Earths (lanthanides) are attracting worldwide attention and the vast majority of potential rare earth deposits occur in alkaline rocks and carbonatites. CERSA Rare Earths applied our cutting-edge understanding of the petrology, petrogenesis and late stage fluid mobility of rare earth elements to exploration problems.
    Previous work has ranged from desk studies of potential areas for new exploration, evaluations of properties, petrographic and mineralogical characterisation of acquisitions and assistance in developing resource models. We have studied rocks considered as potential deposits for Rare Earth Elements as well as Zirconium, Niobium and Tantalum. Minerals that have been the focus of our work include pyrochlore, eudialyte, steenstrupine, vitusite.

Clients have included: SRK Exploration.
 

  • CERSA Base Metals: Growth and infrastructure expansion in the Developing Countries is increasingly driving demand to discover and develop base metal deposits worldwide. Earth’s iron-ore resources are contained largely in banded-iron formations (BIF), most of which are found in Neoarchean and Palaeoproterozoic-age terranes. The search for new, as well as enhanced usage of existing base metal sulphide deposits is accelerating. Thus there is ever growing need to apply the tried-and-true methods, as well as finding novel and more insightful models, of exploration to maintain a steady supply and access to reliable sources of these fundamental resources.
    CERSA staff are capable of providing the work that underpins discovery and evaluation of base metal ores.  CERSA staff (Prave, Tosca and Raub) have mapped BIF on four continents, characterising their structural and stratigraphic distribution, geochemistry and stable isotopic signatures in order to gain better understanding of the controls on formation and distribution of iron deposits.  CERSA staff (Robinson, Prave) have also been involved in mapping and geochemically fingerprinting Cu-Pb-Zn Sedex and VMS deposits in various localities across southern Africa and in Ireland.

Clients have included: Red Rock Resources plc, Tara Mines.