Rock characterisation of the PlatReef

Rock Characterisation of PlatReef Style PGE Mineralisation

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

The transition from a fossil fuel based global energy system to one based on renewable energy sources is required to limit further human induced changes to global climate. This transition requires technologies reliant on critical and noble elements, such as the platinum group elements (PGEs). These elements are either in short supply due to their rarity, or projected increases in demand will soon outstrip supply. Despite the significant annual investment in mineral exploration and decades of research into understanding how and why PGE ore bodies form, the discovery of new deposits is lagging. Furthermore, new and improved methods for modelling the geometric and mineralogical complexities of known PGE ore bodies will help develop more efficient extraction, processing and waste management protocols for the purpose of better ore recovery.

The PlatReef is an important PGE and base metal resource located on the basal part of the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. It ranges in thickness from 40 m to 250 m, and comprises texturally heterogeneous pyroxenites, serpentinites and calc-silicate rocks. The reactive footwall rocks of the Transvaal Sequence range from shale, ironstone, dolomite to granite gneiss and play an important and variable role in localising mineralisation through assimilation and alteration processes.

This project will aim to develop and implement workflows and tools for upscaling of data collected at micro to macro scales for the characterisation, quantification and domaining of PlatReef PGE mineralisation and associated rock textures and alteration in order to improve ore extraction and inform future critical element exploration. This will involve the integration of a variety of geologic and geotechnical datasets, including but not limited to petrographic, XRD, mineral chemistry, SEM, ASD, ICP-MS and micro-XRF data. The outcomes of this project will form an integral part of the AMIRA P1249 research effort.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Michael Baker


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend funded by Anglo American 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.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • English language requirement; proficiency in written and oral English is required
  • BSc (Hons) or equivalent in geology, geophysics or geochemistry
  • 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
  • BSc (Hons) or equivalent in geology, geophysics, geochemistry

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • One or more peer reviewed publications
  • Experience in the mineral resource industry is an advantage
  • Proficiency in Python programming language or similar
  • Experience in numerical modelling and/or machine learning

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 27 March 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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