Alkaline igneous and carbonatite systems

Alkaline igneous rocks and carbonatites are relatively rare (0.5 per cent of all the Earth's igneous rocks), but they are important because of their association with deposits of a number of critical raw materials. These include the rare earth elements (REE), niobium, fluorspar, phosphate, tantalum, scandium and zirconium. Two thirds of advanced REE exploration projects are in alkaline igneous rocks and carbonatites. Almost all the world's supply of niobium and a significant part of the supply of phosphate also come from carbonatites.

Despite their importance, the three-dimensional structure of alkaline igneous and carbonatite systems is still not well understood. This project will aim to create improved geomodels for these systems, with a focus on targeting systems that have the potential for mineralisation at depth.

Schematic cross-section through hypothetical alkaline igneous-carbonatite systems