University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
Birkbeck, University of London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Bristol Featured PhD Programmes

Magmas, fluids, faults and metals – re-assessing the controls on magmatic-hydrothermal W-Sn-Cu-As-Zn-Pb mineralisation and zonation associated with the Cornubian Batholith, SW England - Geology PhD studentship (NERC GW4+ DTP funded).

College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Dr R Shail , Dr J Andersen Friday, January 08, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The W-Sn-Cu-As-Zn-Pb ore field, centred upon the Early Permian Cornubian Batholith, is a global exemplar of magmatic-hydrothermal mineralisation associated with peraluminous granites and mineral zonation, where there is often a progressive change in dominant mineral assemblage with distance from the granite (W-Sn ± As proximal and Cu, Zn and Pb distal). Changes in source melting and differentiation control the broad distribution of granite types and metal prospectivity (Simons et al., 2017). But the heterogeneous distribution of metals and mineralisation styles around “emanative centres”, including the anomalous occurrence of substantial Cu with peraluminous granite, indicates a complex relationship between magmatism, separation of magmatic volatile phases, faulting and fluid mixing.

The purpose of this project is to: (1) provide a state-of-the-art characterisation of the principal mineral parageneses and associated fluid types, and (2) evaluate the role of structurally controlled fluid migration and mixing on the distribution of these mineral assemblages and metals. The project is in collaboration with four CASE partners: Cornish Lithium, Cornwall Resources, Cornish Metals and Osprey Mining.

Project Aims and Methods:

The project is focussed upon the systematic analysis of melt and fluid inclusions in different granite types and mineralisation styles from across the SW England orefield. These will be used to determine: (1) the compositional variability of primary exsolved magmatic-hydrothermal fluids and their control by evolving melt compositions, and (2) the parameters controlling precipitation of ore metals from these solutions (e.g. cooling, phase separation, wall-rock reaction). Careful sample mineralogy and petrography, including SEM, QEMSCAN and cathodoluminescence techniques, will underpin the fluid inclusion microanalysis using microthermometry and laser ablation ICP-MS. Isotopic analysis of minerals will be used to evaluate alternative models for the source and evolution of fluids.

These data will be combined with the distribution of syn-magmatic fault systems and historical metal production, to provide a re-evaluation of the controls on mineralisation, mineral zonation and the origin of “emanative centres”. The project will utilise material from CASE partner drillcore and archive collections but will also include fieldwork in SW England.

Candidate requirements:

We are looking for a well-qualified and highly motivated Earth Sciences/Geology graduate who wishes to carry out a PhD in mineralogy/petrology and economic geology. Excellence in geochemistry and mineralogy are essential; experience of microanalytical techniques and statistical data evaluation are desirable.

CASE Partners:

The four CASE partners are actively involved in mineral exploration and development across Cornwall. They will provide the student with an unparalleled insight into contemporary mineral exploration and access to diamond drill cores for sampling and relevant assay and historical production data showing distribution of metals within fault-controlled vein systems (lodes).


The student will spend 80% of their time at the University of Exeter (UoE) where they will be based for their fieldwork and receive training in GIS / sample collection / preparation, transmitted / reflected microscopy, SEM / QEMSCAN (automated SEM), cathodluminescence, electron probe microanalysis and preliminary microthermometric evaluation of inclusion fluids. The student will spend 10% of their time at the NHM where they will receive training in laser ablation ICP-MS analysis of granite melt inclusions and inclusion fluids in granite-hosted magmatic quartz and inclusion fluids in representative hydrothermal vein parageneses.

Useful links:

For information relating to the research project please contact the lead Supervisor via

Prospective applicants:

For information about the application process please contact the Admissions team via .

Each research studentship project advertisement has an ‘Apply Now’ button linking to an application portal. Please note that applications received via other routes including a standard programme application route will not be considered for the studentship funding.


NERC GW4+ DTP studentships are open to UK and Irish nationals who, if successful in their applications, will receive a full studentship including payment of university tuition fees at the home fees rate.

A limited number of full studentships are also available to international students which are defined as EU (excluding Irish nationals), EEA, Swiss and all other non-UK nationals.

Studentships for international students will only cover fees at the UK home fees rate. However, university tuition fees for international students are higher than the UK home fees rate therefore the difference will need to be funded from a separate source which the student or project supervisor may have to find. Unfortunately, the NERC GW4+ DTP cannot fund this difference from out studentship funding Further guidance on how this will work will be issued in November.

Funding Notes

NERC GW4+ funded studentship available for September 2021 entry. For eligible students, the studentship will provide funding of fees and a stipend which is currently £15,285 per annum for 2020-21.


Simons, B.J., Shail, R.K. & Andersen, J. 2016. The petrogenesis of the Early Permian Variscan granites of the Cornubian Batholith: Lower plate post-collisional peraluminous magmatism in the Rhenohercynian Zone of SW England. Lithos, 260, 76-94.

Simons, B.J., Andersen, J.C.Ø., Shail, R.K. & Jenner, F.E. 2017. Fractionation of Li, Be, Ga, Nb, Ta, In, Sn, Sb, W and Bi in the peraluminous Early Permian Variscan granites of the Cornubian Batholith: precursor processes to magmatic-hydrothermal mineralisation. Lithos, 278-281, 491-512.

Wilkinson, J.J., Stoffell, B., Wilkinson, C.C., Jeffries, T.E. & Appold, M.S. 2009. Anomalously metal-rich fluids form hydrothermal ore deposits. Science, 323, 764-767.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.