Magdalena VHMS deposit paragenesis

Characterisation and paragenesis of the Magdalena VHMS deposit, Spain

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

The transition to a carbon-neutral future economy, whilst continuing economic growth, is dependant upon the discovery and the efficient recovery of new critical green metal resources (i.e., copper, gold) . Despite the significant annual investment in mineral exploration, and decades of research into understanding how and why ore bodies form, the discovery of new deposits is lagging. Furthermore, new and improved methods for far-field exploration in brownfields terranes are necessary, particularly where mineralisation is located in areas that lack sufficient historical geologic understanding.

The Magdalena volcanic-hosted massive sulfide (VHMS) deposit is a newly discovered world-class copper-zinc-lead-silver mine located in the northern Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) of southwest Spain. The deposit is located ~8 km east of the Aguas Teñidas deposit, and 17 km WNW of the historic Rio Tinto mining district. Mineralisation at Magdalena is hosted by volcanic and subvolcanic rock with minor shales of the Volcano-Sedimentary Complex (VSC). It occurs as massive sulfide and stockworks that are structurally modified. At least three massive sulfide zones over 1,800 m long and a dip extent of over 600 m are known, with a shallow westerly plunge. Mineralisation has been modified by later regional deformation, faulting and lower greenschist facies metamorphism.

This project will aim to improve our understanding of the paragenesis of mineralisation and alteration at Magdalena in order to develop methods for deposit characterisation using hyperspectral imagery and geochemical data, and to characterise the mineralogical, textural, and geochemical features of the deposit to optimise mine planning and develop effective tools to aid future exploration for VHMS mineralisation in the district. The outcomes of this project will form an integral part of the AMIRA P1249 research program, which is part of the Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences (CODES), a global leader in ore deposit research at the University of Tasmania.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Michael Baker


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend co-funded by Sandfire Resources of $31,500 per annum (2023 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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • BSc (Honours First Class) or equivalent in geology, geochemistry, economic geology
  • 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:

  • Proficiency in written and oral English is required
  • The candidate will possess a strong background in mineralogy, structural geology, economic geology and/or geochemistry
  • The successful applicant will be self-motivated and willing to work as part of a research team

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • One or more peer reviewed publications
  • The successful applicant will have a solid knowledge of VHMS deposits and the geochemical criteria that are used in exploration for these systems
  • Experience in the mineral resource industry is an advantage, particularly in VHMS exploration
  • Previous exposure to laser ablation (LA-ICPMS) and mineral liberation analysis (MLA) analytical techniques
  • Familiarity with GIS software (e.g., Leapfrog)
  • Proficiency in oral Spanish, for communication with mine staff while on-site during fieldwork

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Michael Baker to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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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