This is a funded MbyRes, including a generous stipend and tuition fees, with well-resourced circumstances for a successful scholarship.
Here is an exciting opportunity to help develop a new application of automated mineralogy based on scanning electron microscopy in the management of historical metal mining sites, whilst also exploring for potential battery mineral resources, needed for the transition to a low Carbon future. This project could lead to entirely new approaches in how we manage areas of abandoned metal mines whilst also looking for the resources of the future.
The selected candidate will apply their geological and analytical skills and ambition to develop a workflow using automated scanning electron microscopy with linked energy dispersive spectrometers, to characterise the mineralogy of abandoned mine sites in Wales. Through an integration of field geological sampling and development of key analytical skills the student will develop transferable knowledge and skills in this most exciting and active field of automated mineralogy research.
This Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project will be held in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science (FCES) at the University of South Wales. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The project will focus on how we can use automated scanning electron microscopy as part of a workflow of analytical methods to characterise sites contaminated by past mining activity. With changing demands for raw materials, minerals at these sites may now be crucial resources for the future.
The project is backed by The Hafren Scientific Group which consists of Chemostrat Ltd – a geological consultancy, Origin Analytical – a laboratory analysis and services company and Chemostrat Wellsite providing wellsite services and equipment hire.
Programme of research:
Wales has a rich metal mining history, with the extraction of gold, copper, lead and zinc traceable back to Roman times. There is therefore the potential for this region to play an important future role in the supply of minerals, metals, and materials into the UK’s green energy ecosystem, and to influence the mineral strategy of the UK. Professionals equipped to meet these challenges are becoming rare, in part because technological advances have significantly broadened geological training requirements. The Hafren Group is currently supporting a PhD student at Cardiff University investigating the battery mineral potential of Wales. The results of the study look promising, but one of the key applications which needs to be further developed is the role of automated mineralogy as part of the analytical work-flow.
Associate Professor Duncan Pirrie at University of South Wales is an expert in the field of automated mineralogy. This KESS project will focus on the application of automated mineralogy on mine tailings from sites in Wales to develop mineralogical and textural data on potential battery minerals. The project will also seek to integrate TESCAN mineralogical data with the results from ICP, XRF and RAMAN. The aim is to develop a comprehensive characterisation workflow for old mine sites in Wales. This will include data on elemental concentrations, their mineralogical affinity and the size, shape and liberation potential of these phases. Some of the sites may have an economic potential for battery mineral supply, but all have environmental toxicity and require remediation and stabilisation. Hence the need for a comprehensive characterisation workflow.
Studentship: The studentship will cover the fees for a full-time MbyRes programme and pay a stipend of circa £11.8k p.a. There is also around £3k project support costs available for consumables, travel, minor equipment, training (including the KESS Grad School) and conference attendance.
The position is available from July 2022
To be eligible to hold a KESS studentship, you must:
- have a home address in East Wales area (details below)* at the time of registration.
- have the right to take up paid work in the East Wales area* on completion of the scholarship.
- be classified by the University as ‘home’ or ‘EU’ for tuition fees purposes according to the University’s guidelines.
- satisfy University of South Wales’s admissions criteria: see below, qualifications and experience and application process
- *East Wales area covers: Vale of Glamorgan / Cardiff/ Newport/ Monmouthshire/ Powys/ Wrexham/ Flintshire
Qualifications and experience:
- Have a degree (2i or higher) in an appropriate Geoscience discipline (Geology, Earth Sciences)
- Possess a reasonable understanding of mineralogy and an interest in advanced analytical methods
- Be highly self-motivated, with capacity to learn and develop computing and data analysis techniques
- Have well-developed and positively collaborative interpersonal skills
- Have an ability to deliver technical reports and communicate findings
- Be willing to travel and work in both field and laboratory settings
To download an application package, please visit: Participant Application Package
For any queries on eligibility, please contact: KESS Team at Research and Innovation Services, University of South Wales: [Email Address Removed] Tel: 01443 482578
For informal enquiries or further programme information, please contact: Associate Professor Duncan Pirrie ([Email Address Removed]).
Further information at: https://pure.southwales.ac.uk/pirrie
Closing date for applications: Sunday 8th May 2022