2019-2020 / GEOL0020-7

Mineral resources


26h Th, 1d FW, 26h Labo., 32h Proj.

Number of credits

 Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering, professional focus in geometallurgy (EMERALD) (Erasmus mundus)5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering (Co-diplomation avec l'Université polytechnique de Madrid)5 crédits 
 Master in geology (120 ECTS)5 crédits 
 Master in geology (60 ECTS)5 crédits 


Eric Pirard

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

  • General overview of the mineral resources sector.
  • Definitions of ore, resource, reserve.
  • Mineral production and consumption statistics.
  • General concepts of metallogeny
  • Economic Geology of:
- Deposits related to magmatic activities;
- Deposits related to hydrothermalism associated to magmas;
- Hydrothermal deposits related to sedimentary /structural features;
- Deposits formed in sedimentary/evaporitic environments;
- Detrital deposits;
- Deposits formed by superficial weathering;
- Deposits linked to metasomatism, metamorphism, diagenesis

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

  • Understand the diversity and complexity of the geological contexts of the main metallic ore deposits.
  • Be able to imagine the best exploration tools criteria for each kind of mineral resource
  • Be able to establish a clear link between the ore deposit type (nature) and the most appropriate excavation technique (engineering) to optimize resources
  • Understand the geopolitical context prevailing for each metallic resource and suggest possible actions to mitigate EU and regional critical dependency.
  • Plan a resource exploitation strategy to lower the impact of geological and mineralogical characteristics on the downstream mineral processing
  • Be able to gather information and communicate to the wider society the challenges of extracting resources in complex natural environments
  • Have the right background in economic geology to be a creative partner in an environmental remediation team

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

General Geology

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

LECTURES are delivered in a classroom allowing for spontaneous interaction between professor and students. These lessons use PPT enriched with video presentations and remote sensing images to introduce the environmental and social issues faced by the mining sector.
Every (2h) lecture is complemented by a (2h) PRACTICAL SESSION, inviting students to manipulate and observe real samples, to question researchers and to search for professional literature. 
A collection of more than 5000 samples from all over the world is available for browsing through the variety of world deposits.
  GROUPS of two students with different backgrounds/culture are formed. Each group is asked to gather and synthesize scientific and commercial literature referring to a given world class deposit currently being exploited. A poster session is organized at the end of the course to allow for interaction and peer-evaluation among students.
FIELD TRIP : A one day field trip is organized during the course to discover the reality of developing the extractive industry in a densely populated region.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

Frontal instruction (2h) to explain the geological context of each deposit
Hands-on learning (2h) to manipulate samples
Face-to-face discussions and interaction with young researchers and scholars in the field
Cooperative learning including team work, realization and presentation (pitch) of a poster in front of peers

Recommended or required readings

Power Point presentations available through e-Campus
ARNDT N., GANINO Cl, KESLER St. - Metals and Society - An Introduction to Economic Geology, Springer, 2012
IIED, Breaking New Ground: Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development (final report of the International Institute for Environment and Development).
ROBB L. - Introduction to ore-forming processes - Blackwell, 2009

Assessment methods and criteria

THEORY (80%): One major question relating to the mechanism of ore deposit formation and insisting on the features (size, grade, geometry, host rocks, etc.) that will impact the exploitation technique and the environment.
A series of more specific questions related to the terminology, the mineralogy and grades of various elements, the main producing regions of the world, etc.
The scientific rigor, clear structure and illustration as well as care taken in the presentation are essential criteria in the evaluation
PRACTICE (10%): Identification of ore samples. Interactive discussion on mineralogy, deposit type and main features of the mineralisation.
POSTER and pitch presentation (10%): Overall quality of the poster (structure, illustration, sources,...) and clarity of the oral presentation

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks


Tél. : 04/366.95.27, e-mail : emerald@ulg.ac.be