Ore Deposit Exploration

Ore Deposit Exploration

The Department of Earth and Environmental Science at New Mexico Tech offers a Masters Degree in Geology in which one can specialize in ore deposit exploration. The program is designed to offer students both practical and theoretical aspects of exploration.

In today’s industry, successful explorationists need to be well-rounded geologists versed in many of the various facets of the exploration business. For this purpose, students will receive instruction in diverse areas including ore genesis, core logging, prospect evaluation, mineral economics, ore reserve calculations, ore deposit mapping, and industrial minerals. Classes will involve field trips to mines of the region where possible. Elective courses provide the student the opportunity to specialize in either ore genesis, mineral exploration, or industrial minerals.

New Mexico Tech has an active  SEG student chapter which organizes field trips and brings in speakers on ore deposits. The faculty is active in SEG as well as with various faculty having served as SEG News letter editors, submitted newsletter contributions, and served on committees.

Recommended Courses

  • ERTH 462 Mineral Deposits (3 credits): Geologic and geochemical characteristics of metallic mineral deposits; theories of origin and classification.
  • ME 421, 521, Prospect Evaluation I and II (6 credits): Practical aspects of property evaluation including mining methods, mineral economics, ore reserve techniques, geo-metallurgy, and environmental concerns.
  • ME 522, Ore Deposit Mapping (3 credits): Field mapping and interpretation of salient features of selected mineral deposits. Practice in report and map preparation.
  • GEOL 551, Industrial Minerals (3 credits): Basic concepts of exploration, production, and end use of industrial minerals. The complex interactions between economics, transportation, and marketing.

Thirty credits are required for graduation.

  • Thesis Option: 24 class credits and 6 thesis credits
  • Non-thesis Option: 27 class credits and 3 independent sutdy credits

Other Selected Courses Available

  • Ore Deposits Field Trip (2-3 credits)
  • Fluid Inclusion Analysis (2-3 credits)
  • Stable Isotope Geochemistry (3 credits)
  • Argon/Argon Geochronology (3 credits)
  • Mine Remidiation (3 credits)
  • Ore Deposits Seminar (3 credits)
  • Hydrology (3 credits)
  • Volcanology (3 credits)
  • X-Ray Diffraction (1 credit)
  • Microprobe Analysis (1 credit)

In addition, certain courses will be offered as two-week short courses.

Field Trips

Field trips are important in developing the student’s field and observational skills and as illustrations of theories learned in class. In addition, students develop contacts in industry, invaluable when seeking employment.

Given our location in the Southwest, we are able to emphasize field trips to mines and mineral districts. Classes regularly visit the porphyry deposits of New Mexico and Arizona and deposits in Northern Mexico, as well as small areas closer to home.

We also organize foreign trips to see deposits around the world. In the last few years, we have had trips to look at gold and diamond deposits in Ghana, porphyry and epithermal deposits in Chile and Peru, base-metal mines in Ireland, and gold mines in Quebec. 


Participating Faculty

Dr. William X. Chavez, Jr., Department of Mineral Engineering
Dr. Chavez teaches ore deposit mapping and prospect evaluation. His specialty is the study of porphyry copper deposits and, in particular, supergene processes that concentrate ore.

Dr. Andrew Campbell, Department of Earth and Environmental Science
Dr. Campbell teaches mineralogy and geochemistry courses. His specialty is the application of fluid inclusion and stable isotopes to ore deposits.

Dr. Virgil Lueth, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
Dr. Lueth specializes in ore deposit mineralogy and the geochemistry of jarosite.


Financial Support:
Applicants to this program are eligible for Research and Teaching Assistantships from the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, as well as Fellowships from the endowed Donald Yardley, Barkley Wykof, and Charles Park fellowship funds.

For More Information Contact 

Dr. Andrew R. Campbell
Phone (505) 835-5327
FAX (505) 835-6436
email: campbell@nmt.edu

Dr. William X. Chavez, Jr.
Phone (505) 835-5317
FAX (505) 835-6436
email: wxchavez@nmt.edu