Hyperspectral Mineralogy & Geochemistry

Multi-scale Hyperspectral and Mineral Chemistry Data Mining

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Hyperspectral mineralogy mapping is a popular and rapidly evolving technique in the field of economic geology. This is primarily because data collection is fast and non-invasive and the resulting outputs can be used to predict mineralogy at multiple scales. However, prompt and reliable hyperspectral data interpretation is still a challenging task as the relationship between spectral anomalies and subtle changes in mineral chemistry is poorly understood.

The University of Tasmania, Australia, is seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate for a research project that focuses on:

  • Exploring the application of machine learning methods to improve the accuracy and speed of hyperspectral data interpretation
  • Integrating and analysing patterns in hyperspectral infrared and mineral chemistry data to advance our understanding of how major and trace element compositions can influence spectral characteristics

A variety of analytical techniques, including X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscope (SEM), Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, Short Wavelength Infra-Red (SWIR) spectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) will be used to help determine the cause of the spectral anomalies. The outcomes will provide opportunities to develop methods and workflows to upscale mineralogy information from the microscopic (<1 cm) to macroscopic scale (hundreds of meters to kilometres) to aid mineral exploration and ore processing.

This project would 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 large research team at University of Tasmania and collaborate with a large industry sponsor group. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to conduct geological fieldwork at one or more of the P1249 study sites to obtain sample material for this project. P1249 also has an extensive sample archive from porphyry copper and epithermal gold deposits that will be drawn on for comparative analyses.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Lejun Zhang


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:

  • Honours or Masters degree with a substantial mineralogical and geochemical component, or equivalent
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus in Hobart, Tasmania

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:

  • Mineral exploration experience and/or research experience in mineralogy and geochemistry
  • Experience with analytical techniques, including hyperspectral imaging
  • Publications in the international peer-review literature
  • Proficiency in written and oral English is required

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Computer programming, e.g., in Python, R, Julia

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, Dr Lejun Zhang 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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