School of Earth and Environment

Rob Chapman - Gold web pages

Gold Nugget

Nuggets to 0.3g sectioned and polished. These nuggets were identical in characteristics to the more numerous smaller particles collected from each of the four source locations: so these nuggets certainly have not ‘grown’ as some people suggest

Gold crystal

SEM photo micrograph of a gold crystal from south east Scotland

Nugget with bismuth telluride, Mechanic Ck, Yukon (sample courtesy of Mr John Gow).

Nugget with bismuth telluride, Mechanic Ck, Yukon (sample courtesy of Mr John Gow)

Palladian gold crystal 1mm long, Devon, England

Palladian gold crystal 1mm long, Devon, England

Placer gold: co. Wicklow, Ireland (fov 1 cm)

Placer gold: co. Wicklow, Ireland (fov 1 cm)

6.5g nugget, St Mary’s Loch area, Scottish Borders

6.5g nugget, St Mary’s Loch area, Scottish Borders

Welcome to my personal 'gold' web pages of the School of Earth and Environment.

Between 1997 and 2004 the focus of my research was the indigenous gold mineralization of Britain and Ireland. The diverse geology of these Islands hosts a range of styles of gold mineralization which permitted development of the technique. Subsequently work in Canada in collaboration with Prof Jim Mortensen at the University of British Columbia, the Yukon Geological Survey and the British Columbia Geological Survey has applied these principles to areas where both placer gold and in situ mineralization are economically important resources. I was the only UK researcher in a £1million industry-academia- Canadian government project investigating the metallogeny of the Dawson Range, Yukon Canada between 2010 and 2012. 

Experiences gained during these research projects have been fed into my teaching at Leeds. The 1st year 'Gold and precious metals' course is unique and involves a 3 day field trip to Scotland, in which everybody finds some (but not much!) gold. In the final year there are more opportunities to study ore deposits, and between 2010 and 2012 around 40 of our graduates found work in this field.

We have an active Chapter of the Society for Economic Geology, (SEG) for which I am the academic advisor. The Chapter is going from strength to strength and 20 members visited the Vancouver Exploration Roundup, in January 2012. In December 2012 we host a day symposium by Emeritus professor David Groves on the subject of orogenic gold and we are planning our first overseas field trip to Namibia in September 2012. Ultimately the activities of the Chapter will greatly enhance the employability of Leeds Geological Science Graduates within the exploration sector worldwide.

In 2011, I formed the Placer Minerals Group (pmg(at) to provide a platform for the study of placer-lode relationships for a variety of commodities. PMG aims to offer PhD topics in the near future.  I have undertaken placer gold studies in the role of consultant for New Boliden and have recently branched out to work with Debmarine in Namibia.

Finally, working with the placer miners in the Yukon inspired me to work with a local computer game designer, (Bindoff Media) to design an interactive computer game which players simulate the decisions made by real miners. If you understand what you are doing, you have a better chance of success – but life is not always so predictable… The game is freely available online. You can become virtually wealthy in only 2 hours!

Rob Chapman August 2012