Dr Rob Chapman


I completed a BSc and MSC in Minerals Engineering at the university of Birmingham before working in South Africa as a metallurgist on gold,uranium and platinum mines. i returmned to the UK in 1985 to undertake a PhD which was  sponsored by Boulby Potash Ltd in the Mining Department in Leeds. This work focussed on improving efficiency in the potash processing plant and involved design of a novel solvent extraction circuit to separate sodium and potassium. In 1991 I joined the University of Leeds School of Continuing Education where I managed the science program:  typically comprising 30-40 courses a year to adult audiences throughout Yorkshire and Teeside. An industry collaboration developed an access to science program for techical staff, and some elements of this are the forerunners of current provision in SOEE. I began collaborative work with the BGS in 1993 which lead to the first regional scale studies on the significance of the compositions of natural gold. This work developed over a 10 year period, during which time a collaboration with the archaeological community undertook the first gold artifact provenancing study which drew on suitable indigenous geological databases.

In 2003 I transferred to the School of Earth and Environment and in 2004 my research focus switched to Canada as I began work with Jim Mortensen at UBC, Vancouver and the Yukon Geological Survey. This work developed the study of mineralogy in a part of the world where economic gold mineralization is economically important. Initial scoping studies lead to my involvement with the 'Yukon Gold Project': a UBC- industry collaboration run through the Mnerals deposit research unit (MDRU) at UBC. Funding from Geoscience BC permitted the geographical range of study to be extended to the whole of the Canadian Cordillera, and in 2017 this geographical remit extended to Alaska with an ongoing collaboration with USGS. Various funding sources have permitted subsequent regional scale studies in BC and Yukon which have underpinned publications describing the mineralogical signatures of gold formed in different styles of gold ineralization. In 2013, I was invited to be a memeber of the review panel of a C$2m NSERC -industry collaboration at Laval, Quebec.

The research interests overlap substantially with my teaching. PhD students are affiliated to the Ores and Mineralization Group (OMG) which includes staff from both the Institute of Applied Geoscinces and the Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics. I was the Group leader from inception in 2013 to 2017, and I now share the role with Dr Taija Torvela. Our first MSc student graduated in 2017, and five PhD students graduated by 2023. I currently supervise, or co- supervive 4 PhD students in OMG . Industrial links have generated PhD projects at localities of international significance (the Klondike goldfields, KSM Cu-Au porphyry. BC,  and eastern Newfoundland) and have  underpinned resent CASE studentship projects with Klondike Gold Corporation, Yukon Geological Survey GSNI, and Dalradian Gold.Debeers Namibia also underwrote a fully funded PhD studentship.  The most recent project focusses on an unusual gold- cobalt deposit in Finland in conjunction with Mawson Gold. At undergraduate level the strong industry contacts feed into student employability, and undergraduate research projects have been offered via the MGeol program (typically 2pa) and the Laidlaw scheme (2017, 2018).

I have been the academic advisor for the Leeds Chapter of the Society for Economic Geology since its inception in 2010, which has provided an excellent platform for many students who start their careers in the applied geosciences. I am currenlty Schools liaison officier and have visited over 25 different schools that teach A’ level Geology in the last year both to give talks and practical sessions. 

Consultancy work has been carried out for New Boliden, Akili mineral Services (Kenya) and most significantly with DeBeers Marine (Namibia) betwen 2011 and 2015.


  • Co- PI Ores and Mineralization Group

Research interests

1. Gold mineralogy and implications for developing indicator mineral methodologies.

2. The relationship between gold mineralogy and ore foming processes

3. Gold metallogeny of the Canadian Cordillera and Alaska https://minerals.usgs.gov/science/yukon-tanana-upland-studies/index.html

4. Gold composition as a provenancing tool in archaeological studies https://www.nms.ac.uk/collections-research/our-research/featured-projects/prehistoric-gold/network-members/

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BSc, University of Birmingham, Minerals Engineering
  • MSc, University of Birmingham, Minerals Engineering
  • PhD, University of Leeds, Hydrometallurgy
  • C. Eng

Professional memberships

  • IOM3
  • SEG (Fellow)

Student education

I manage and deliver a core second year module introducing broad concepts in resource geology.  I also manage and deliver the final year Ore Deposits module, and contribute to the Structural Geology taught MSc.  Field work is an important  component of this teaching and I have developed three field experiences which are unique to Leeds. Student employability is a major theme within these teaching strands, and draws together ongoing experiences from research collaborations with industry and the activities of the SEG Chapter.  

Research groups and institutes

  • Ores and Mineralization
  • Institute of Applied Geoscience

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>