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Ore Geology: In the Epicentre of the Fossil-Free Energy Transition

Discover the basics of the geology of critical metals and the potential for Europe to increase its metal self-sufficiency.

Person at the bottom of a canyon surrounded by basalt columns. View from flying drone of Studlagil Canyon.
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours

Build an understanding of ore geology and its role in the future

Society is transitioning from an oil dependency to a metal dependency as we are turning to fossil-free alternatives in the energy and transport sectors.

On this three-week course from Luleå University of Technology (LTU), you’ll explore the role of ore geology in the green transition of modern society as we move from oil to metal dependency.

Discover the foundations of critical metals

Geological processes throughout the earth’s history are responsible for the current distribution of ores containing critical metals and by understanding the fundamentals of these ore-forming systems, we can understand why certain critical metals occur in extractable amounts in one place while being almost absent in another.

You’ll discover the fantastic world of the subsurface that made all the technology you use on a daily basis possible. You’ll explore the definition of critical metals, common ore-forming processes, where they are produced today, supply risks, and the potential for European self-sufficiency.

Explore the processes behind metal dependency and a sustainable future

This course will guide you through the large-scale geological processes, the minerals, rock types, and geological structures involved, and why they matter.

Then, you’ll look at the role of the ore geologist in building a sustainable future for the world.

Learn from the experts at Luleå University of Technology (LTU)

LTU has a long tradition of research and education in Ore Geology. Today, the only professorship in ore geology in Sweden is based at Luleå University of Technology and the research group is internationally recognized and involved in several highly prestigious research projects, both nationally and internationally.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds Throughout our society. We are surrounded by many material objects, some of which we don’t fully understand or know how they function or even what they’re made of. The digitalization of society has led to a rapid increase in the number of metals used in our daily lives. Metals that previously had only marginal applications are today considered as critical to the people in the European Union. Many of these metals are a prerequisite for the fossil free energy transition because they are used in things like solar panels, wind turbines, semiconductors, batteries and much more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds We greatly depend on the availability of these metals to reach the climate goals decided upon in the Paris Agreement, but most people don’t know about them, and even fewer know what role geology has played in the creation of their mobile devices, flat screen TVs, or maybe even more importantly, the fossil free energy.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds Where do these metals come from? What controls? Where they can be found? Come with us on a journey through the geology of these curious metals and learn about the natural processes that accumulate metals in the Earth’s crust. It is a journey from molten magma deep within the Earth’s crust to hot fluids, exploiting fracture systems to erosion and sedimentation on the Earth’s surface. It is a journey that takes us through the very fundamentals of how our planet works from the inside. We who give this course are all engaged in research within the field of Ore Geology. We are all passionate geologists who, upon seeing an ore deposit, ask the questions How, When? Why?

Skip to 1 minute and 57 seconds These questions are not always easy to answer, but the answer lies always. In the rock.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Critical metals

    • Course introduction

      Welcome to the course about Geology and critical metals. In this activity, we will introduce you to the course and the subject. You will also meet the teachers and do a short presentation of yourself to the learning community.

    • Critical Raw Materials

      What are critical raw materials and why do we need them? In this activity, we will talk more about where we can find them, where they are produced today and why there is a supply risk.

    • Mining and Europe

      The transition to fossil-free energy will make the energy sector the largest consumer of metals in the future. But how does the value chain of the mine look like and what role does the geologist play?

    • End of Week 1

      Well done! It is time to summarise the first week of the course before we continue our journey in the exciting field of ore geology.

  • Week 2

    Geology of critical metals

    • Earth systems

      As we take you through the geological timescale, you will find out about the origins of metals and large scale geological processes.

    • Rocks and minerals - and why they matter

      In this activity, we will start off by introducing you to minerals and then we will go intro more details. You will learn about the rock cycle and about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.

    • Geological structures and stratigraphy

      In this activity, we will explain what stratigraphy is, Steno’s four laws of stratigraphy, and how stratigraphy can be used to decipher what happened to rocks in the past.

    • End of Week 2

      Great job! You've now reached the end of Week 2 and we will summarise what you've learned before continuing into Week 3.

  • Week 3

    Ore formation processes

    • Introduction to ore deposits

      In this activity, you will get brief introduction to ore and ore deposits as well as a background of concentrations and mineralisation. You will even get to see some examples of ores that contain critical metals.

    • Ore forming processes

      In this activity, you will be introduced to ore deposits and learn about the different ore forming processes, including magmatic, hydrothermal and sedimentary.

    • The role of the Ore Geologist

      What do ore geolists do and what is their role in the fossil-free energy transition? In this activity, you will hear from real-life geologists and get a look at how they work, both in the field and in the lab.

    • Course summary

      We're approaching the end of the course. In this activity, we will summarise Week 3 and all that you've learned in the course.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • The definition of critical metals, where they are produced today, supply risks, and the potential for a European self-sufficiency.
  • Large scale geological processes
  • Minerals, rock types, geological structures, and why they matter.
  • Common ore forming processes.
  • The role of the ore geologist for a sustainable future.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in geology and the self-sufficiency of metals for the green transition.

It will be especially useful to politicians, teachers, and anyone working in connection with the supply of raw materials.

Who will you learn with?

Hi, I am Joel Andersson, a passionate geologist and rock climber from northern Sweden.

I'm a motivated geology researcher working on characterizing cobalt occurrence in northern Sweden.

I am an ore geologist and nature enthusiast. It is my job to increase geologic awareness for anyone and everyone who cares about the future of our planet.

Geologist. Adventurer. Nature lover. I believe that knowing the geological history of the Earth helps us to have a better understanding of how to explore and exploit ore deposits sustainably.

Who developed the course?

Luleå University of Technology

The Luleå University of Technology mission is to shape the future through innovative education and ground-breaking research results. Located in the arctic region, the university creates global societal benefit.

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  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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