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!



From June 25th to June 28th , some members of our Student Chapter attended the Spanish Mineralogical Society Meeting (XXXVIII Reunión Científica de la Sociedad Española de Mineralogía) that took place in Ronda, Málaga.

Dr. Thomas Aiglsperger, one of the founders and a regular member of our Student Chapter and nowadays associate Senior Lecturer in the University of Luleå (Sweden) was invited for the seminar with the talk: “Conventional and unconventional deposits of platinum group elements”.

Ph.D. students, and members of the Student Chapter, Núria Pujol Solà and Júlia Farré de Pablo gave 15 min talks related to exotic minerals in ophiolitic chromitites in the ore deposits session.

Our advisor, Joaquín A. Proenza, also gave a 15 min talk about massive sulfide deposits hosted in ultramafic rocks from Cuba. 

During the last day there was a field trip to the Ronda peridotitic massif, observing the different facies of ultramafic rocks and the associated chromitite mineralization. The field trip was led by Dr. Karoly Hidas from the Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra (IACT, Granada).


Last 24th of May, Malena Cazorla was invited to our 8th Informative Talk. Malena Cazorla is a 4th Undergraduate student that participated in the V Jornades sobre el Bosc de Poblet i les Muntanyes de Prades, on November 2018. In this meeting, several people were invited to talk about the Prades Mountains and the Poblet Forest, in order to improve the knowledge related with these areas in terms of history, biodiversity and geology. In the meeting, Malena Cazorla gave two talks entitled "Sal de llop de les serralades costaneres catalanes" (“Sal de llop” at the Catalan Coastal Ranges) and "Minerals industrials del bosc de Poblet" (Industrial minerals from the Poblet Forest). 


For the Informative Talk, Malena exposed the contents of these two talks she gave. Therefore, the main topic was the small-scale mining performed at the Prades Mountains and the Poblet Forest in the last centuries. She focused on the mining of sal de llop (a variety of calcite) and the industrial minerals from the Silurian slates. This type of small-scale mining was very common during the late periods of the Middle Age and the early modern period, as the sal de llop was needed for the production of glass (mixed with an alkali and silica), whereas the industrial minerals, like halotrichite and copiapite, were used as mordant. 


The talk was not only focused on what she exposed at the meeting in Poblet. She also encouraged our student members to participate in these type of meetings. She concluded that this experience gave her the opportunity to learn new things about mining and to get to know some researchers related with the topic and the area (the Prades Mountains and Poblet Forest), and also gave her the opportunity to improve her presenting skills and to gain experience when it comes to exposing. 

Again, we want to thank Malena for giving this talk and for encouraging our students to participate in extracurricular events.

Website of the Meeting: http://parcsnaturals.gencat.cat/ca/detalls/Noticia/V-Jornades-El-Bosc-de-Poblet


On Friday, April 26, our SEG member, Jingyao Xu, defended her doctoral thesis, directed by Dr. Joan Carles Melgarejo Draper.

She studied the Optimization of the use of diamond indicator minerals in diamond exploration in kimberlites.

We congratulate Jingyao and wish her many successes in this new stage.


Last 13th of March we had the enormous pleasure to have Dan Wood with us, giving a talk about the Discovery of the Kencana Au-Ag ore deposit in Indonesia.

Dan Wood was the SEG Distinguished Speaker during 2018. He is an exploration geologist (nowadays retired) who was associated with a great number of significant ore deposits discoveries. Together with the Company's exploration team of the Newcrest, from which he was the Executive General Manager Exploration, they were judged by the Metals Economics Group of Canada to have been the world's most successful gold explorer, during a long period of time.

The main topic of the talk was the Kencana Au-Ag ore deposit, in Indonesia. This deposit, together with other associated to the main one (Gosowong and Toguraci), is a good example of high grade, low-sulphidation epithermal Au-Ag mineralization. He explained his experience through the discovery, exposing all the analyses obtained with the exploration of each of the deposits. An important fact is that the Kencana deposit is about three times the size of both Gosowong and Toguraci deposits. Dan remarked the important role that perseverance during the exploration process, good field work and even serendipity played in the discovery of this deposits.

We want to thank Dan Wood for such an interesting talk and for giving us the pleasure to hear his experience.


14/02/2019 and 28/02/2019 – METEORITES SHORT COURSE

Last 14th and 28th of February took place the Meteorites Short Course organized by the Barcelona SGA-SEG Student Chapter and given by Dr. Jordi Llorca and David Allepuz at the Faculty of Earth Sciences of the University of Barcelona.

First of all, we want to thank all participants: it was a great experience for us to organize this course and we received very positive comments from all the assistants.

The course was divided in two days. The first day consisted in a theoretical session in which David Allepuz and Dr. Jordi Lorca introduced different terms related to the classification of meteorites and its characterization. They also detailed the procedure they follow in order to sample meteorites and explained their own experiences during the field trips around the world, as well as the excitement they still feel nowadays when they find a meteorite. A place where they usually find meteorites is the Atacama Desert, Chile. The way they did the conference was easy to follow, especially for those who didn’t have any knowledge about the topic.

The second day of the course was for the practical session. In this occasion, we had the chance to take a look at a great number of thin sections, corresponding to different typologies, with optical microscopy. This way it was possible to apply the terms we learned during the theoretical session for the description of the samples. The thin sections were part of the collection available at the Faculty of Earth Science of the University of Barcelona.


The course participants exposed their opinions and said they found the course very interesting. However, they lament the lack of time provided to study the samples considering the amount of samples available.

To conclude, we want to thank David Allepuz and Dr. Jordi Lorca for the interest and dedication they put to organize this short course.

Don't you miss the image gallery about this course: http://www.meteorits.cat/ciencia/FacGeologia.htm



Last 7th of January, Carlos Alonso was invited to our 6th Informative Talk. Carlos Alonso is a senior geologist in exploration and mining, gave us the talk: La Experiencia de un Geólogo Modelador: Optimización de la información geológica mediante el uso de tecnologías avanzadas. The talk was divided in two parts. He first explained how he decided to study Geology and talked about his academic trajectory. He did his Geology Bachelor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and decided to direct his career towards mining. During his career, he got the opportunity to start learning softwares to perform 3D geological modeling and decided to specialize on that to apply it within the mining sector. Nowadays he works as Business Development Manager for Seequent, the company which provides the software Leapfrog (www.leapfrog3d.com/), in London (UK).

The second part of the talk was focused on the 3D modeling itself: the different tools it provides and how it can be used to improve and optimize the geological study of an area. He also provided several examples, mainly from South America where he worked for several years, showing its different applications within geology: from 3D mapping of geochemical anomalies within a mine pit, to locating the subduction zones in the Andes Mountains using the information from seismic lines.

He concluded the talk making us aware that all geological data we might have can be modeled as soon as it can be codified and organized in a database. Moreover, any information contained within a database is better understood and can be better interpreted when we are able to easily visualize it, for instance using 3D modeling. Nowadays there are several softwares, like Leapfrog, that make 3D modeling much easier and friendly for all users and it is important for geologists to familiarize with them.