Economic Geology and Energy Resources


Realize the importance of mineral resources in society and to the circular economy. Understand the concept of sustained exploitation of mineral resources and recognize this as a factor conditioning industrial and economic development and the progress of human society. Identify regions endowed with mineral resources and realize its implications on global geopolitics and provision policies. Know the effects of the global economy and societal evolutions on commodity super-cycles of prices in the short and medium term. Know the bases associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution and its implications on the future demand and availabilities of mineral resources. Know strategic mineral resources for recent or emerging technologies and their global distribution. Understand the concept and to know examples of CRM (Critical Raw Material) in a global context and in the particular case of the European Union. Understand the importance of knowledge about the Resource Base. Understand the relevance of technological advances in the context of the sustainable exploitation of mineral resources. Have a sense of scarce metals availabilities for future generations and resources of potential future consideration as metal sources. Recognize the importance of concealing production flows of PRM ("Primary Raw Materials") with SRM ("Secondary Raw Materials"). Know the main stages of life cycle of mining operation and its possible relations with the flows of production of raw materials. Identify potential sources of mineral raw material that comes from different types of materials generated throughout the mining life cycle. Understanding minerals as a multiple source of CRM’s and the possibilities and limitations in the recovery of CRM''''s from mining waste. Recognize mining as a fundamental activity for economic development and its environmental sustainability.

Understand geologic processes and genetic mechanisms of mineral deposits, different metallogenetic models and zonality and controls of mineralization. Learn techniques and methodologies used on mineral exploration and the geological and economic parameters that characterize a mineral deposit. Lear techniques and methodologies of identification and characterization of ore minerals. Know the lithochemistry, mineralogy and textures of metallic ores of different classes of mineral deposits. Know geological resources of strategic importance to recent technologies and their world distribution. Identify the potential resources to explore in a region; plan and develop mineral exploration projects and analyse its results; participate in mining pre-feasibility studies and perform different functions (technical or administrative) in any life cycle phase of a mine or other activities related to the production of commodities from different stages of the mining production cycle.

Know the main methods of mining exploration. Know the process of mineral resources exploration and their specificities. Understand the relevance of mining exploration properly oriented and sustainable in the discovery of mineral deposits and new resources and in the recovery of the interest for discover or exploration.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Sofia Verónica Trindade Barbosa


Weekly - 4

Total - 62

Teaching language





[1] J. Craig et al. (1998) - Resources of the Earth. Prentice Hall.

[2] S. E. Kesler, A. C. Simon (2015) - Mineral Resources, Economics and the Environment, 1st edition. Cambridge University Press.

[3] B. C. Clayton (2015) - Commodity Markets and the Global Economy. 1st edition. Cambridge University Press.

[4] J. M. Guilbert & C. F. Park (1986) - The Geology of Ore Deposits. Freeman.

[5] W. C. Peters (1988) - Exploration and Mining Geology. 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons.

[6] F. J. Sawkins (1990) - Metal Deposits in relation to Plate Tectonics. 2nd ed., Springer-Verlag.

[7] R. Marjoribanks (1997) - Geological Methods in Mineral Exploration and Mining. Chapman & Hall.

[8] P.R. Ineson (2013) - Introduction to Practical Ore Microscopy, Routledge Edition.

[9] J. R. Craig, D. J. Vaughan (1994) - Ore microscopy and ore petrography. 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons.

Teaching method

The teaching model adopted is kind of theoretical and practical: i) theoretical lectures and practical multimedia support; ii) a) practice on macroscopic e microscopic observation of samples related with different type ore deposits and materials related with the distinct phases of the mine life cycle; correspondent mineral, ore, texture and geochemical characterization b) presentation and resolution of problems with practical lessons on mineral and ore identification c) development of PRM and SRM flux diagrams (real and hypothetic) d) geological and economic parameters of importance for mining feasibility studies, iii) field visits to mining areas in operation and to former mines with sampling collection to practical lectures.

Evaluation method

Presentation of a final report at the final of the program about the works developed in practical classes (40% of the total final result). Two medium-term written tests (30% of the final result each one) or, alternatively, a written final exam (60% of the final result). All the evaluation elements will be scored from 0 to 20.

Subject matter

Natural non-renewable resources. Mineral resources, abundant and scars metals and its importance on circular economy, relevance on technological progress and for society. Availability of mineral resources and the importance of Resource Base knowledge.

Privileged regions on specific mineral resources. Irregular distribution of geological resources and its implications on global geopolitics. Provision policies, external dependencies and depletion of mineral resources. Commodities and super-cycles of metals prices. Mine life cycle. 4th Industrial Revolution and its implications on mineral resources. Critical raw materials (CRM’s) in a global perspective and in the particular context of the European Union. Sustained exploitation of mineral resources and future generation availability of scars metals.

Mineral resources to circular economy. Circular economy and its direct dependence on sustainable mineral resource exploitation. Mine life cycle and its relations with raw material (RM) production fluxes. The ore and minerals as multiple source of CRM’s. Introduction to mineral processing methods. Possibilities and limitation of metal recover from ore and mining wastes. Optimized mining exploitation, environmental control and monitoring of mine activities and mine closure. Mine life cycle implications on the RM production fluxes. Conciliation of PRM (primary raw materials) and SRM (secondary raw materials) cycle fluxes.

Geological processes, mineralizing fluids, migration and deposition of minerals. Generating processes of mineral deposits. Alteration-mineralization. Supergenic alteration. Lithogeochemistry and metal deposits in relation to Plate Tectonics. Classification of mineral deposits. Types of ore, mineral chemistry (gangues and ores) and paragenesis. Paragenetic sequence in ore formation, fluid inclusion and isotopes. Metallogenetic models and chemical zoning. Tests for mineral identifications and geochemical characterization. Mineral and textural macroscopic and microscopic studies. International recognised systems of reporting resources and reserves. Specificities of pre-feasibility studies of mining projects. Portuguese case: geological matrix and its main metallogenetic belts, relevance of mineral exploitation in the past century, the Portuguese program for remediation, rehabilitation and recuperation of former mines, present situation about the knowledge of Portuguese mineral resource, particular case-studies.

Mineral exploration: discovering and defining ore bodies. Mineral exploration as first stage of wealth creation from mining. History of mineral exploration and technological development. Defining Exploration objectives and discovery targets. Exploration Techniques. Exploration Process. Discovery assessment: resource delineation, definition and estimation; mining studies - scoping, pre-feasibility (and feasibility). Discovery Strategy and Success. Exploration Budget. Important parameters of mining pre-feasibility studies. Resources and Reserves (review and context upscale), USGS and USBM (1976) classification. United Nations Classification (1979); International Reserve Classification Systems, UNFC system. Specificities of mining pre-feasibility studies.


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