Mineral Exploration and Evaluation

Module code: GL3109
Module co-ordinator: Dr Dave Holwell

The exploration for -- and assessment of -- new mineral resources is a complex, multistage process. The mineral exploration industry relies on the assessment of multiple datasets of geographical, geochemical, geophysical, and economic data to identify areas of the Earth's crust that appear anomalous. This may include the presence of elevated concentrations of certain metals in streams and soils, or changes in the physical properties of the sub-surface that may indicate bodies of rock enriched in certain minerals. Once discovered, further geological and economic analysis is required to advance a promising discovery to an identified resource and ultimately to an economically viable reserve.

This module has been designed in association with the exploration industry through a pioneering collaboration with Micromine. You will take the role of a junior exploration geologist, responsible for a desk study assessment of an exploration project where you have access to a number of relevant datasets. You will analyse these in 'real time', making use of industry-standard software, and will then decide whether to progress with the exploration; if so, you will get a budget to design the next stage of exploration.

You will also be involved in the later-stage evaluation of a separate project for your 'company', which will require you to determine the future cashflows it will generate, assess its economic viability, highlight financial and technical risks, and make a recommendation to the company on whether or not to proceed.

The module provides a range of highly relevant employability skills, including the use of widely used industry software and the production of industry-style reports, plus the transferrable skills of problem-solving and managing and analysing large datasets. It provides an excellent experience of the sort of project you may be involved with as a graduate geologist in the exploration and financial industries. The methodologies involved are applicable to a wide range of geoscience industries.


  • 6 hours of lectures
  • 10 hours of project supervision
  • 6 hours of demonstration
  • 8 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 120 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework project - exploration (65%)
  • Coursework project - evaluation (35%)