Economic and environmental Earth sciences

Cobalt against a black background

A specimen of the mineral cobalite (cobalt iron arsenic sulphide), named after the German word kobald, meaning underground spirit © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

Our scientists are supporting the sustainable development of resources, using our collections of soils, clays, ores and microfossils.

Ores research

We are interpreting the formation processes of ore deposits and investigating best practice for their sustainable exploration, mining and processing.

The Centre for Russian and Central EurAsian Mineral Studies (CERCAMS)

A centre for research on the geodynamics and metallogenesis of the former Soviet Union and its neighbouring territories, including China and Mongolia.

Serra Verde lateritic REE deposit

We are developing a formation model for the Serra Verde deposit in the Goiás province of central Brazil, to investigate its potential for rare earth elements (REE) extraction. 

CoG3 Consortium

Investigating the recovery of cobalt

London Centre for Ore Deposits and Exploration (LODE)

Focusing on developing a world-class mineral analytical facility to deliver important solutions to industry problems.

Scandium in geological systems

We are studying the mineral residence and behaviour of scandium (Sc) to understand how deposits form and to improve extraction practices.

The Jadar Li-B deposit, Serbia

Studying the genesis of the Jadar lithium-boron (Li-B) deposit in Serbia

Li4UK: Securing a domestic lithium supply chain for the UK

Demonstrating the feasibility of producing battery-quality lithium compounds from lithium found in UK rocks and geothermal waters.

LiFT (Lithium for Future Technology)

Identifying sustainable lithium resources for a low carbon economy.

Soils and clays research

Current investigations include clays in mangrove forests, mineral-microbe interactions in soil, and ancient clays from Mars.  

Brazilian mangrove forests

Our scientists are studying the rapid clay mineral transformations taking place in these dynamic environments.

The Hydro-Mars project

We are studying iron- and magnesium-rich clays from hydrothermal sea floor environments around the world to better understand the nature of ancient clays on Mars.


Undertake professional and postgraduate training in economic and environmental earth sciences.

Core research labs

Our research lab teams are available for complex on-site imaging and analysis of biological and geological samples.

Ore mineralogy laboratory

Learn more about our reflected light microscopy and microscope spectrophotometry laboratory.

Micropalaeontology collection

Find foraminifera, ostracods, conodonts, radiolarians and palynomorphs.

Ores collection

Our collection of more than 15,000 specimens is a valuable resource for the field of economic geology.