Dr Joaquin A. Proenza is a researcher and professor at the Department of Mineralogy, Petrology and Applied Geology of the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona. Dr Proenza’s current research focuses on the study of Ni-Co and critical metals in laterites, exotic mineral associations in ophiolites and mineral systems of the lithosphere of intra-oceanic island arcs. He is expert in the geochemistry, petrology and metallogenesis of ophiolites and intra-oceanic island arcs.

Last Tuesday Dr Proenza introduced the exciting field of PGE mineral deposits to the members of the Student Chapter in a virtual conference. In it, he first reviewed the main deposit types that serve as sources of PGEs today (“conventional deposits”) and outlined their geological context and formation processes. Subsequently, he commented on other mineralisations that remain unexploited but have been identified as potential candidates for PGE extraction (“unconventional deposits”).

We were delighted with the presentation and pleased to learn something about the geology of these intriguing and valuable elements. Notwithstanding the growing demand for PGEs and the key role they will play in the economies of the future, little is known about their geological behaviour and the field is seldom covered in the syllabus of BSc degrees.