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William Smith 2018: Mineral resources at the frontier

03 July 2018
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Geological Society Events, 2018 Year of Resources
The Geological Society, Burlington House
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As ore grades decline and mineral deposit discovery rates slow down, future global demand for raw materials is likely to lead the exploration and mining industry into more extreme and technically-challenging environments. These frontier areas include the polar regions and ocean floors, as well as ultra-deep ore bodies in mature mineral provinces. Recent publications have even highlighted the mineral potential of extra-terrestrial bodies. 

In many respects these can just be considered new frontiers for an industry that has thrived on risk and continued expansion into new environments. Whilst the resource potential of these environments has long been discussed, new datasets, refined ore deposit models and advances in prospectivity modelling have improved our knowledge considerably. A broad array of technological developments have also brought mining in these environments closer to commercialisation. 

The 2018 William Smith Meeting considered mineral resources in ultra-deep terrestrial environments, the deep-ocean (>200 m), the polar regions and extra-terrestrial settings. The Meeting provided a platform to discuss the key global drivers for mineral extraction in frontier environments, including security of supply concerns; to assess current understanding of the resource potential of these largely unexplored parts of the planet and beyond; to identify the geoscience knowledge gaps and science opportunities; hear about research and technology developments in exploration and extraction of these resources; and discuss the challenges for environmental protection and issues surrounding resource ownership, governance and the development of regulatory regimes.


Paul Lusty (British Geological Survey) 

Bramley Murton (National Oceanography Centre)

Teal Riley (British Antarctic Survey)


KEYNOTE: Drivers of future mineral demand
David Humphreys (DaiEcon Advisors)


A multidisciplinary approach to exploration of extinct seafloor massive sulphide (eSMS) deposits in the TAG Hydrothermal Field, Mid-Atlantic Ridge (26oN) 
Iain Stobbs (University of Southampton, UK)


Insights into the submarine magmatic-hydrothermal Cu cycle, Brothers volcano, Kermadec arc 
Manuel Keith (University of Leicester, UK)


Deep-sea LIBS for in situ chemical analysis of mineral deposits
Tomoko Takahashi (University of Southampton, UK)

Mass wasting events and their impact on the formation and preservation of submarine ore deposits
Daniel Smith (University of Leicester, UK)


Seamount-scale  variations  in  ferromanganese  crust  surface  chemistry: Implications  for  the  controls  on  composition
Sarah Howarth (University of Southampton, UK)

Instruments and methods for volumetric mapping of ferromanganese crusts using AUVs
Blair Thornton (University of Southampton, UK)

Distribution of critical metals (REY, Co) in polymetallic nodules
Wycliff Tupiti (University of Plymouth, UK)


KEYNOTE: ‘Potential of the high Arctic to mineral exploration: The perspective from North Greenland
Stefan Bernstein (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland)

Mineral prospectivity mapping at the frontier: A case study from the Antarctic Peninsula 
Tom Bide (British Geological Survey, UK)


Critical metals for new technologies – where will they come from in the future? 
Kathryn Goodenough (British Geological Survey, UK)

Freetown Layered Igneous Complex – a significant offshore extension defined by seismic stratification and residual gravity – a potential offshore stratiform ore target?
Andrew Long  (Subterrane Ltd)


More yet to be found in the Alps? High-grade W-(Sn) skarn mineralisation close to the Felbertal mine (Eastern Alps) 
Alexander Ordosch (University of Leoben, Austria)

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