Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


'Critical metals' increasingly underpin advances in digital technologies and in the development of renewable and sustainable energy sources and storage solutions. This unit aims to examine some of these commodities, focusing particularly on lithium and other ‘battery metals', the Rare Earth Elements, and tantalum-niobium. The objective is to understand the geological setting and distribution of these strategic resources, and the geochemical processes that lead to the enrichment of the ore metals in the Earth's crust. Critical metal resources formed in igneous, hydrothermal, and surface weathering environments, including salt lake systems, will be examined in practical assignments and a short field trip.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of critical metal resources, why these are important for society, and how they are distributed in minerals and rocks of Earth's crust; (2) demonstrate understanding of the geochemical behaviour of critical metals, and how these become concentrated in igneous, hydrothermal and surface environments; and (3) apply these concepts to predict occurrence of critical metal resources, with some understanding of issues around extraction and processing.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical exercises; (2) short report; and (3) oral presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Anthony Kemp
Unit rules
Enrolment in
70590 Master of Ore Deposit Geology
or 73540 Master of Energy Geoscience
or HON-GEOGY Geology
or 72550 Master of Geoscience
Advisable prior study
GEOS4411 Mineralising Systems EART3342 Geochemistry and Petrology
Contact hours
Workshops: 8 hrs per week for 6 weeks
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.