Halogens in hydrothermal ore deposits

Exploration significance of halogens in hydrothermal ore deposits

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Halogens play a significant role in alteration and ore formation, impacting metal complexing and the physical and chemical properties of fluids and melts. As a result, some ore deposit types show systematic variations of halogen geochemistry in time and space recorded in minerals and fluid inclusion assemblages - these variations have untapped potential to be used as tools for mineral exploration, and have important implications for the hydrothermal evolution of mineral systems – our most important resources of base, precious and many critical metals.

This PhD project aims to develop new methods that will add halogen geochemistry to the suite of exploration tools for hydrothermal deposits. The candidate will:

  • Trial field-portable instruments to assesses whether the halogen content of minerals can be detected in the field (e.g., SWIR for identification; LIBS and/or pXRF for quantification), and compare these to results from established SEM, XRD and EPMA-based methods
  • Constrain halogen contents in hydrothermal fluids directly via fluid inclusion analyses
  • Assess the suitability of novel ion chromatography methods developed by the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (ACROSS) at UTAS for halogen analyses to complement the established but expensive, laborious and time-consuming pyro-hydrolysis methods for halogen extraction from rock powders
  • Combine these data into a a new database of halogen geochemistry for altered rocks from different types of hydrothermal ore deposits, and interrogate the data using data analytics methods to develop halogen screening, discrimination, vectoring and/or fertility tools for mineral exploration
  • Develop, test, and apply these new halogen-based mineral exploration tools in and around selected hydrothermal ore deposits

This project will be conducted as part of the AMIRA P1249 project: ‘Exploring, characterising, and optimising complex orebodies – Integrated deposit knowledge to add value across the Mining Value Chain.’ The candidate will work with a multidisciplinary research team at UTAS and collaborate with a large industry sponsors group.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof David Cooke


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • BSc (hons) or equivalent in geology, geochemistry, or volcanology, or with relevant employment experience

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with geochemical data acquisition and interpretation, ore deposit geology, mineral exploration

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof David Cooke to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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