Since November 2019, we have been involved in activities to expand our knowledge about "rare elements" in the periodic table. Some of these activities were focused on preparing conferences with experts and, additionally, we had the chance to participate in the writing and preparation of an article related to these rare elements. This activity would improve our members writing skills and they would also get to know a little bit more about rare elements and their distribution (small- and large-scale).

Title and authors of the article.


This paper was directed by Dr. Joan Carles Melgarejo, who gave us the appropriate tools to start writing the draft. Finally, and with the review and contribution of numerous professors and researchers, the paper has been published in "L'Atzavara" journal. In this paper, we discuss some aspects such as: 

- What do we mean when we speak of "rare elements"?

- How are the elements distributed in the mineral's structure?

- Distribution and concentration of elements on Earth (relative abundance)

- Concentration mechanisms.

Additionally, we expose examples of deposits in Catalonia that contain one or more of these "rare elements" and, finally, we discuss their potential and the distribution of these elements in this area.

We want to thank Dr. Joan Carles Melgarejo and colleagues for giving our Chapter the chance to participate in such an amazing activity.

If you are interested in reading the full article, you can download it from this link:


Last March 11th, we had the pleasure to receive Diego Domínguez Carretero to our 11th Informative Talk. He is a former student of University of Barcelona, as well as, an ex-member of the SGA-SEG Barcelona Student Chapter. He gave us a speech about his master thesis and the experience of his master’s degree in Geneva, Switzerland.

Diego explained to us he became interested in economic geology because of the present and eminently greater need of society for critical metals, key to the development of science and new technologies. It is a field in which he encourages undergraduates to explore not only on the grounds of its potential but also because it can lead to varied and interesting careers. He points out that another of its greatest attractives is that it integrates areas as diverse as petrology, mineralogy, geochemistry, structural geology, geodynamics or even stratigraphy and hydrogeology.

After graduating, Diego moved to Switzerland to study his MSc, where he received an Excellence Scholarship. He says that the the overall experience was extremely beneficial because it granted him the opportunity to live abroad on his own and learn about new perspectives and ways to approach geology.

His Master thesis focused on the formation and architecture of a distal skarn system located in Elba Island, Italy. He explained that the genesis of the Miocene iron deposit, hosted by Palaeozoic marble and schist remained unknown until now. After a brief description of the local geology, he explained that the genesis of the ore deposit consisted in three principal stages.

First of all, the formation of silicate skarns took place, with the main mineral association being garnet, pyroxene, ilvaite and epidote. Secondly, iron oxides with hematite and magnetite were formed, followed by a third stage of sulphides - mainly pyrite, but also chalcopyrite, sphalerite and galena among others.

According to his study,  the genesis of this deposit could be linked to the hydrothermal magmatic fluids from Miocene felsic and peralkaline magmas of Elba and the Tyrrhenian sea, although he pointed out it is difficult to know yet to what particular magmatic body it is linked. Additionally, he stated that there is the possibility of it being linked to a magmatic body that does not outcrop the surface nowadays - an unknown body.

Finally, he explained it has been the first time that a formation of a distal skarn on Elba has been dated using geochronology of U/Pb in garnet.

We would like to express our most sincere thanks and appreciation to Diego for sharing with us his work and personal experience.


Last February 27th we had the chance to do the first session of a new series of activities organized by us: Debates about the Mining of the Future. The main objective of these sessions is to gain knowledge about non-conventional mining, such as seabed mining, mining in the Space (asteroids, planets, etc.) and biomining. A feature that we want to remark about these sessions is that it is a big opportunity for our members to get to improve their management, oral and organizational skills, since they are ones that, in groups of two to three people and voluntarily, organize the presentation of the topic and decide the format of the session. They can choose to do an oral presentation, to show a documentary about the topic, to do an interactive game with the participants in the activity, etc.

This first session was organized by Carlos Ramírez (MSc in Mineral Resources - Universitat de Barcelona) and Àlex García (BSc in Geology - Universitat de Barcelona). They divided the session in two different parts. The first part consisted of an oral presentation, where they got to explain general facts about seabed mining.

They described the main seabed deposits that have been studied (to this day) in order to carry out mining projects on them, such as Seafloor Massive Sulfides, Manganese Nodules and Cobaltiferous-Ferromanganese Crusts. They also explained some disadvantages that Mining Companies must deal with when deciding to mine these types of deposits and shared with us some curiosities about seabed mining.

At the end of their talk, we debated about some interesting topics that the participants were interested in, like the legal problems Mining Companies must deal with, consequences and profitability of mining these deposits, among other things.

We want to thank and congratulate Àlex and Carlos for their participation and their commitment to carry out this activity. Further sessions related with this series of activities will take place in the following months (via online), in which we will get to discuss and debate more about seabed mining, with the participation of specialists, and we will introduce the second main topic of Debates about the Mining of the Future: mining in the space.


Two members of our Chapter (David Ruiz and Ernest Onetti) were invited to attend a one-day course given by Dr. Joan Carles Melgarejo (Mineralogy Professor at the University of Barcelona) and to assist him during the course. This course was organized for a High School class from Amposta, Catalonia, Spain. It consisted of a theorical part (a conference given by Dr. Melgarejo) about geology and ore deposits, and a practical part, were they had the chance to do a half-a-day field trip to the Museum of the Mines of Bellmunt del Priorat (Pb Mines) and to visit other small-scale deposits in the area, such as the Eugènia and Règia mine. The aim of this course was to teach geological concepts to High School students through a divulgative way. 

The main functions of the members from the BCN Student Chapter were to help Dr. Melgarejo, such as in the picking of samples of altered galena, non-altered galena, dolomite, ankerite, siderite, sphalerite, pyrite and marcassite. The samples they picked up are going to be used to complete the collections from the Clonations Pilot Project, a project directed by Dr. Joan Carles Melgarejo. Additionally, they had the opportunity to attend the whole course and get to know better the Geology from Bellmunt del Priorat and get to know how to easily recognize the different minerals observed during the field trip.

Example of the samples picked during the field trip. Left: Altered galena. Right: Dolomite-galena vein from the Bellmunt Pb Mines.

Finally, the Chapter members that attended the course, and the BCN Student Chapter, want to thank Dr. Joan Carles Melgarejo for giving them the opportunity to attend this activity. 


On February 11th took place the 10th Informative Talk given by Marco Rodríguez and organized by our Chapter. Marco Rodríguez is studying the second year of the Master's degree, specialization on Mineralogy and Geochemistry, at the University of Freiburg, Germany. 

During the talk, he explained that he had the opportunity to start collaborating in this project when he was working in the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, in Mainz, Germany. To introduce his project, he first showed us the geological and geographical context of the Caribbean. Later on, he started explaining the main objectives of the project and the study he and his colleagues had to carry out to achieve all the objectives.

Regarding to the project, he explained that it all started when they found zircons from the Caribbean in the Galápagos Island, so the main question of the project was: "How did some zircons from the Caribbean end up in the Galapagos island?". He exposed the several hypothesis he and his team discussed.

He showed us the different softwares used to achieve the objectives they had, such as GPlates and MatLab. Additionally, we got to see the geodynamic evolution of Central America, the evolution of the plates conforming the area and how the limits between the plates have changed during the last 200 My, thanks to the GPlates software.

Finally, he explained that once all the data was processed by the different softwares and interpreted by him and his colleagues, the hypothesis that fit better their ideas and conclusions was that these zircons were transported by convection movements in the mantle that followed toroidal flows.

We want to express our admiration towards him, for being involved in this project of major difficulty, and, also, we want to thank him for sharing with us his his project and for giving a talk.

Marco Rodríguez, Undergraduate and Master Chapter members that attended the Informative Talk and Joaquin Proenza, our academic advisor.


On November 15th we received the visit of Dmitriy Tonkacheev that currently is working at the Institute of Geology of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry (IGEM RAS), in the Russian Academy of Sciences, in the framework of the Cloning project for teaching mineralogy, petrology and mineral deposits that we have been promoting since 2018.

Dmitry added to the collection samples that correspond to minerals such as diopside with calcite, phlogopite, magnetite, and hastingsite from Kovdor and some samples from Tolbachik volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula.

During his visit to the University of Barcelona, he met with our advisor and the vice president of the Student Chapter to evaluate possible ways of collaboration with the IGEM RAS Student Chapter (mineral exchange, possible trips to the Kola Peninsula and The Urals mountains, among others).

On November 16th, a visit to the mining area of ​​Molar-Bellmunt was organized to show Dmitry the region of El Priorat, which was one of the most important mining centers in Catalonia and the first extraction for lead in Galena. Some master and degree students of our faculty joined the activity.

The field trip started in The Molar Mines where oxides and silicates of manganese, copper ores (malachite, tennantite, chalcopyrite) calcite, siderite, ankerite, dolomite, barite, and galena were recognized. A guided tour in the Bellmunt Mines Museum was also carried out, which included a tour inside the Eugenia mine to observe Galena's veins and the nickeliferous veins with minerals such as Millerite.

We thank Dmitry for his visit and his interest in getting involved in this project that we consider very important for collaborative learning. We are looking forward to welcome him again.



Last November 8th 2019, we had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Yasushi Watanabe to our Faculty. He was invited to give a talk about a topic which he is specialized in: Rare Earth Deposits and Mineralization. The talk was given in the Sala de Juntes from the Facultat de Ciències de la Terra (University of Barcelona).

Regarding to Dr. Watanabe, he is the director of the Department of Earth Resource Science, and Professor of the Graduate School of International Resource Sciences, Akita University. At the same time, he works as an Advisor and Consultant to Governments and Organizations, and, additionally, he is Committee member of the training course of the Japan Mining, Engineering and Training Center and of the Geo-Resource Information Archive System Project by Japan Space System.

His most recent research lines include, for example, “Recovery of rare earth elements from apatite ore” and “Differential fractionation of rare earth elements in oxidized and reduced granitic rocks”.

In the talk, he first started giving a short introduction about himself and the different areas in which he was worked. He continued explaining rare earth elements, and other facts related to them such as the crustal abundance of REE and their different applications. Once he finished with the introduction, he focused on the different REE deposits in China (i.e., Bayan Obo Fe-REE deposit) and all around the globe (i.e., the African Rift, Mountain Pass, Mount Weld, etc.). He also went into detail about the main REE deposits (carbonatites, hydrothermal veins, peralkaline-rock associated deposits, etc.) and exposed that ion-adsorption deposits are an important source for REE (i.e., the Longnan deposit in China).

Later on, he explained the research line in which he is working at the moment: REE production from apatite. He says apatite to be a container of REE. A deposit that hosts REE-bearing apatite is a deposit in Phalabora, which it is recorded to contain up to 7400 ppm REE in apatite, and up to 3000 ppm REE in gypsum. But he also exposed that, although there are some advantages of REE extraction from apatite, such as small capital cost required, low environmental impact, enormous resources and it is technically possible,  the extracting these types of deposits is not always successful, since the REE grade is in some cases too low to use expensive chemicals for digestion.

To finish, he expressed that, nowadays, the main objective for the mining industry is to be completely Sustainable (circular economy), but first we will have to go through some transitional stages.

Dr. Joan Carles Melgarejo, as an advisor from our Student Chapter and an assistant to the talk, gave us his opinion: “Dr. Watanabe detailed in his conference to the SEG-SGA Student Chapter in Barcelona the state of the art of the REE mining, including the geological meaning of the REE, their types of economic deposit models, uses and supply concerns. The information was up-to-date and easy to be understood for a diverse public including from undergraduate students to senior researchers.”

As the BCN-SGA-SEG Student Chapter, we are very happy to have organized this SEG Conference with Dr. Watanabe, and we would appreciate receiving him again in the future to teach us new facts about the mining industry and its long-term perspectives.

Dr. Yasushi Watanabe (center left) with the advisor from the BCN-SGA-SEG Student Chapter Joan Carles Melgarejo (center), the ex-presdient Julia Farré (right), the actual president Ariana Carrazana (center right) and the actual vicepresident Malena Cazorla (left).

15/10/19 - 17/10/19 - Attendance of some of our members to the MMH Seville

Some of our members (Malena Cazorla, Laura Poll and Joana Lluch) had the pleasure to attend the MMH of Seville - Mining and Minerals Hall of Seville - between October 15th and October 17th.

In the meeting, there were several simultaneous sessions in which different topics were debated. Some referent speakers were invited to give a talk before the debates about topics like circular economy, the relation between mining and the ecosystems, new mining projects, etc.

The three participants want to highlight the awareness on the environmental aspects related to the industry of all those attending the congress. Due to this, the new mining projects presented had a detailed plan for the restoration of the surroundings of the mine once the mineral extraction finishes. In addition, a high percentage of the talks discussed issues related to the preservation of the environment and the need for review and control the projects, including the effects of mine waste, environmental degradation, and ecosystems around the mine area.

Moreover, the participants had the opportunity to contact many mining companies that participated in promotion stands. In these, people currently working in mines and mine services gave them advices on the importance of having a decisive attitude when applying for a job in the mining industry (it is not only important the qualifications they have during your degree or master's degree, but also how they face the problems, how they deal with them and also the importance of having the willpower to continue and achieve their objectives).

Finally, we want to continue encouraging students to attend this type of meetings and conferences related to the mining industry and mining companies, since mining is essential for our society, not only for its development towards greener energy and services but also in our daily life. Mining without a negative impact on the environment is possible, and we, the geologists, are the ones who have the power to change people's bad opinions about mining.


Last October 8th, Oriol Vilanova, a master’s student from the University of Barcelona and member of SGA-SEG Barcelona Student Chapter gave an informative talk in which he explained several aspects related to his stay during last spring semester as Erasmus student in Iceland.

He started explaining the main reason why Iceland is so active in terms of volcanic eruptions and how volcanoes interact with glaciers. He exposed that in Iceland, the usage of geothermal energy related to volcanic activity is widespread, becoming a leader country in terms of green energies. Another topic he focused in was the consequences of climate change in Iceland and how its community is aware of the direct consequences in their glaciers.

At the end of the talk, the relationship between geothermal energy (more economical) for mining companies was explained and discussed with the attendees. In this case, Oriol explained about Aluminum mining and how companies transport raw material from the US to its final processing in Iceland.

At the end of the talk, the relationship between geothermal energy (more economical) for mining companies was explained and discussed with the attendees. In this case, Oriol explained about Aluminum mining and how companies transport raw material from the US to its final processing in Iceland.

We want to thank Oriol for bringing some samples of volcanic and sedimentary rocks with which the attendees evaluated their characteristics and origin. We were very pleased to hear your his experiences on the island and we hope that the transmission of his experience will be a stimulus for other students, whom Oriol has encouraged to leave their comfort zone with this type of exchange.



Last 12th of September 2019, a meeting took place in the Auditorium of the Museum of the La Plata National University, Argentina, convened by Dr. Diego Guido's initiative (SEG Advisor from the Natural Sciences Faculty and the just mentioned Museum). In the meeting, the president of our Student Chapter, Ariana Carrazana, shared our way of working in the generation of content and the activities related to the study of ore deposits. After the presentation of the Student Chapter, a debate between all the assistants in the meeting took place, where they discussed how the participation and the learning in a Student Chapter can involve students since the beginning of their degrees in Geology.

Inside the international cooperation framework in which it is pretended to promote with the institutions that are associated with us, it was presented the actual situation of the Pilot Project of Mineralogy Collection UB, in which more than 30 different universities are already collaborating (by giving support, giving away samples for the completion of the collections, etc.). In this context, the UNLP Student Chapter gave away enargite samples so that they could be added to the collection.


We feel grateful with the exchanges it has been generated with the Geology students from the La Plata University, with whom we were able to share methodologies, tips, ideas and schemes of how to use different tools to reach a self-learning about geology and ore deposits, which are complementary and extracurricular to the academic formation in the University. These ideas permit us to work in research projects and prepare us to face management and teamwork facts, which are essential nowadays.

We want to thank all the UNLP SEG Student Chapter, the founders of the Student Chapter (since 1998), all the ex-presidents and the teachers from subjects related to the study of ore mineral deposits that did not doubt to assist to this session and to share their experiences.

We wish to continue sharing a lot of new coming projects together.


Last week of August of 2019 took place the 2019 SGA Biennial Meeting in Glasgow, Scotland (from 27.08 - 30.08). Three of our student members assisted to the meeting in order to present their research and the activities we performed in the Barcelona SGA-SEG Student Chapter: Júlia Farré de Pablo and Núria Pujol Solà, both former presidents of the Student Chapter, and Malena Cazorla Martínez, current vice-president.

Núria Pujol Solà presented a poster with the title “Olivine orthopyroxenite-hosted chromitite veins in the ophiolitic mantle, Havana-Matanzas, Cuba, in which she explained the new interpretations regarding the unusual formation of chromitite veins within orthopyroxenite instead of hosted within dunite.

Núria Pujol Solà in the Meeting showing the poster she presented.

Júlia Farré de Pablo presented a poster of the research she is performing in the framework of her PhD study about the origin and formation of ophiolitic chromitites of Dominican Republic. She also presented the activities performed by our Student Chapter in the last two years in the SGA-General Assembly that took place during the meeting.

Malena Cazorla Martínez did an oral presentation in which she exposed her Bachelor Thesis. Malena’s Bachelor Thesis focused chiefly on the study of the petrology and geochemistry of the Animas-Chocaya-Siete Suyos deposit, Bolivia, which is extremely enriched in indium. She explained that the main reason why the deposit is extremely enriched in indium is because of the high values of indium found in sphalerite, up to 9.5 wt. %.

Júlia Farré de Pablo presenting our Student Chapter in the Meeting.

Malena Cazorla Martínez did an oral presentation in which she exposed her Bachelor Thesis. Malena’s Bachelor Thesis focused chiefly on the study of the petrology and geochemistry of the Animas-Chocaya-Siete Suyos deposit, Bolivia, which is extremely enriched in indium. She explained that the main reason why the deposit is extremely enriched in indium is because of the high values of indium found in sphalerite, up to 9.5 wt. %.

As the BCN SGA-SEG Student Chapter, we want to thank SGA for giving our members the opportunity of participating in events like this one, providing funding for students in order the attend the meetings. And to conclude, congratulations to Júlia, Núria and Malena for their work!

Malena Cazorla Martínez presenting her Bachelor Thesis in the Meeting.

As the BCN SGA-SEG Student Chapter, we want to thank SGA for giving our members the opportunity of participating in events like this one, providing funding for students in order the attend the meetings.

And to conclude, congratulations to Júlia, Núria and Malena for their work!