Fully Funded PhD Project: New approaches for rapid analysis and tracing of fluids and their ligands in regional mineral systems

If you are seeking to advance your research career in geology and interested in developing new analytical techniques related to fluid systems in geology, the University of South Australia is offering a unique opportunity to apply for a hands-on, innovative project-based PhD, in partnership with the Department for Energy and Mining's Geological Surv 4ey of South Australia and MinEx CRC.

Tracing fluids in regional mineral systems in the ancient rock record can be done indirectly using the mineralogy, trace element or isotopic characteristics of rocks and minerals associated with the resultant mineral deposits, or directly by analysing micro-inclusions of fluids trapped within host minerals. The focus of this project-based research degree is to develop rapid and cutting-edge techniques to directly analyse the composition of fluids to enable regional-scale characterisation and understanding of fluid systems. You will have access to UniSA's newly installed state-of-the-art fast-washout laser ablation and time-of-flight ICP-MS instrumentation. These instrument advances give us the ability to analyse most elements simultaneously to provide rapid fingerprinting of fluids. This enables us to map fluid systems at a much bigger scale than has been traditionally possible. We'll be applying the approach to copper and other critical mineral systems in Australia, in world-class systems such as the Curnamona Province. The project also includes scope for development of other associated analytical techniques that take advantage of the available instrumentation.

In this project you will collaborate with MinEx CRC and the University of Adelaide's Australian Critical Minerals Research Centre, offering you an unparalleled opportunity to build your industry and professional network. Coupled with the Geological Survey of South Australia, this will provide you with an extensive and varied local geological research environment and access to world-class research infrastructure.

Engagement with government geological survey organisations within Australia will also provide you with the opportunity to develop your research and career networks.

What you'll do

In this project-based research degree, you will undertake both field- and lab-based research within Australia. You will develop expertise in assessing the generation and evolution of fluids related to regional metamorphism and magmatism, geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, analytical technique development and fast (ms) washout laser ablation ICP-MS-MS and ICP-TOF-MS analytical techniques. The project will include fieldwork in some great field locations in outback Australia. You will be encouraged and supported to attend international conferences and associated field excursions or workshops and Australian conferences.

Supervisory Team

  1. Associate Professor Justin Payne
  2. Professor Thomas Raimondo
  3. Dr Laura Morrissey
  4. Associate Professor Carl Spandler (University of Adelaide)
  5. Dr Claire Wade (Geological Survey of South Australia)

Eligibility and Selection

This fully-funded project is open to application from domestic and international applicants. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD.

Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:

  1. Undergraduate degree and Honours or Masters degree in geology/earth science

Applicants who can also demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:

  1. Honours or Masters degree research project in igneous and/or metamorphic geology
  2. Some experience with analytical instrumentation (e.g. SEM, ICPMS, electron microprobe)

Applications close on Sunday 12 June 2022.

The application portal and project details can be found at:

For more information or to discuss the project in more detail please contact Assoc. Prof. Justin Payne via email:

Associate Professor Justin Payne
UniSA STEM, University of South Australia
Adelaide, SA Australia

posted: 09 May 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.