A-team Quarterly Update – Final Quarter 2019

It has been a period of writing up following our successful publications and fieldwork in the Summer and approaching the end of the SoS RARE and HiTech AlkCarb consortia. The two consortia had valedictory conferences at which some of the key findings were presented. In addition, our work was picked up by several national newspapers who ran articles about our group and its impact.


Congratulations to PhD student Nicky Horsburgh who submitted her PhD thesis before Christmas.



SoS RARE/HiTech AlkCarb meeting, Natural History Museum, 26th November 2019

The results from the SoS RARE and HiTech AlkCarb consortia were celebrated at a meeting at the Natural History Museum in London. The St Andrews group presented two talks and five posters to the event.

Talk: Adrian A Finch: Magmatic roof zones: where chemical and thermal gradients cause mineralisation.

Talk: Will Hutchison: New isotopic constraints on the source and physico-chemical evolution of alkaline magmatic fluids: implications for REE prospecting and mineralisation.

Poster: Nicky Horsburgh: Smart Sorting of REE-minerals

Posters by Anouk: Hydrothermal Alteration of Eudialyte-Hosted Critical Metal Deposits: Fluid Source and Implications for Deposit Grade.

Determining the structural state of REE in ion adsorption deposits using XAS: Comparing REE sorption mechanisms in lateritic clays from Madagascar and China – Anouk M Borst, Martin Smith, Adrian A Finch, Guillaume Estrade, Eva Marquis, Peter Nason, Tina Geraki

Looking for hi-tech metals in Angola: the Nejoio alkaline complex. – Borst AM, Finch AA, Siegfried PR, Bambi A, Tchimbali G, Dos Santos A, Lopes E, Eugenio A, Jeremias E and Azevedo S

Critical Raw Materials Workshop, Royal Society, London, 27th November 2019

The Royal Society hosted an event that was live streamed on the challenges to supply of critical raw materials. Adrian gave an invited talk entitled “Why it pays to know your ore: mineralogy meets mineral processing” looking at the linkages between mineralogy and metallurgy, which was illustrated from three examples of where an understanding of mineralogy from the start would have improved yield.

The event was picked up by the Guardian who ran an article about the St Andrews group and some of our recent results.

VMSG January 2020, Plymouth

The A-team presented two oral presentations and two posters to this year’s VMSG in Plymouth.

Rooks CJW, Finch AA, Clarke AJI, Scheerer DA, Wright AH (2020) Aillikite Diatremes and the Early Stages of the Gardar Rift System.


Hutchison W, Finch AA, Boyce AJ, Stueeken EE, Marks MAW and Friis H (2020) The sulphur isotope evolution of magmatic-hydrothermal fluids.

Murphy AJ, Finch AA (2020) Ultramafic Lamprophyre on Tuttutooq Island, Gardar Province, S Greenland.

MDSG January 2020, Natural History Museum, London

MDSG this year clashed with VMSG but Anouk represented us there.

Borst AM, Finch AA, Siegfried PR, Bambi A, Tchimbali G, Dos Santos A, Lopes E, Eugenio A, Jeremias E and Azevedo S (2020) Looking for hi-tech metals in Angola: the Nejoio alkaline complex.

Beard CD, Wall F, Finch AA, Hutchison W, Borst AM, Broom-Fendley S, Goodenough KM and Siegfried PR (2020) Geomodels for HiTech materials in alkali-silicate & carbonatite systems. 


Will Hutchison’s recent paper in Nature Communications was picked up by a major topics journal called ‘The Conversation’ who invited us to produce a layman’s summary of the work. It is targeting a relatively young audience, so the bigger picture science is presented. Anouk came up with the M&Ms analogue for isotopes! We placed the work within a broader context of our research into critical metals in alkaline igneous rocks.

Finch AA, Hutchison W & Borst AM (2019) How Volcanoes Recycle the Earth’s Crust to Uncover Rare Metals that are Vital to Green Technology. The Conversation, article 125159.

Anouk wrote a review of our fieldwork and experiences in Angola in the Applied Mineralogist, the bulletin of the Applied Mineral Group (AMG) bulletin. The issue also contained bursary reports from A-team members Kris Sokół and Nicky Horsburgh so had a strong St Andrews theme.

Adrian’s talk at the Royal Society conference on Critical Raw Materials was picked up by the Guardian, who ran an article on some of our recent results. The success of our recent work triggered a whole series of articles about the group in the National press.

University Press Release – https://news.st-andrews.ac.uk/archive/ancient-volcanoes-reveal-earths-recycled-crust/

The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/dec/03/terrawatch-how-earths-conveyor-belt-hides-rare-metals

The Herald – https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17906666.scots-scientists-discover-secrets-earths-crust/

The Courier – https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/fife/979895/st-andrews-scientists-unearth-secrets-of-earths-crust/

Deadline – http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2019/09/16/ancient-volcanoes-reveal-earths-recycled-crust/

Phys.org – https://phys.org/news/2019-09-ancient-volcanoes-reveal-earth-recycled.html

Environmental News Network – https://www.enn.com/articles/59767-ancient-volcanoes-reveal-earth-s-recycled-crust

The Saint – http://www.thesaint-online.com/2019/10/university-scientists-make-breakthrough-volcanic-study/ 

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