Beamtime at the Advanced Light Source | COG3 Consortium

In November, Laura Newsome, a Research Associate, and Sul Mulroy, a PhD student at the University of Manchester Geomicrobiology group, travelled to California for beamtime at the Advanced Light Source synchrotron at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

outside-advanced-light-source-berkeley
At the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, California

Laura and Sul travelled to analyse samples generated from their work on the COG3 project. Sul reports from the visit.

Continue reading “Beamtime at the Advanced Light Source | COG3 Consortium”

COG3 team presenting at Science Uncovered | COG3 Consortium

On Friday 30 September, scientists from across the Museum gathered to take part in Science Uncovered 2016, part of European Researchers’ Night.

People gathered around the COG3 stand at the Museum
The COG3 stand at Science Uncovered 2016

The theme for this year’s event was ‘Hidden Worlds’, which gave us the perfect opportunity to share the work we have been doing as part of the CoG3 project with members of the public. COG3 project member Rachel Norman reports from the event.

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Sample collection from the Nkamouna Deposit in Cameroon | CoG3 Consortium

CoG3 project member and University of Manchester PhD student Sulaiman Mulroy reports back on a recent fieldwork trip to Cameroon in West Africa.

In June 2016 I travelled to Cameroon to collect samples from the Nkamouna laterite, one of a number of lateritic ore deposits formed on top of lenticular serpentinite rocks, which cover around 240km2 in the East of Cameroon.

Team members
Gideon, myself and Karrimo

 

In total the region hosts seven lateritic ore bodies, covering ~1250km2, though only two have been subjected to rigorous exploration: Nkamouna has proven and probable reserves of 54Mt at grades of 0.25% Co and 1.7% Ni, and further north, at Mada, 150Mt of inferred resources of similar grade are believed to be hosted in the laterite.

Continue reading “Sample collection from the Nkamouna Deposit in Cameroon | CoG3 Consortium”

Annual Science Advisory Board meeting | CoG3 Consortium

Dr Paul Schofield gives an account of the CoG3 project’s annual Science Advisory Board meeting, held on the 6 and 7 June 2016 at the Bangor Acidophile Research Team (BART) centre, Bangor University.

The overall purpose of our Science Advisory Board is to assess and advise upon the strategic direction of the team’s project, CoG3: Geology, Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology of Cobalt. It also ensures that all components of the project stay focused on their objectives and remain sufficiently integrated so that the entire project can deliver the desired impact.

Ores presentation
Dr Gideon Lambiv describes the ore zone at the Nkamouna laterite deposit in Cameroon

The meeting was hosted by Barrie Johnson and Sarah Smith of Bangor University. Continue reading “Annual Science Advisory Board meeting | CoG3 Consortium”

Fieldwork in Brazil | CoG3 Consortium

In April 2016 the CoG3 team travelled to Brazil to carry out fieldwork at the Piauí deposit. Researcher Dr Paul Schofield describes their trip:

Cobalt is a technology-enabling metal with numerous applications that are particularly essential to the ‘green agenda’. Despite cobalt being such a critical material, there is a very high risk associated with its supply.

Our project, CoG3: Geology, Geochemistry and Geomicrobiology of cobalt, aims to increase the security of the cobalt supply chain by:

  • identifying new, currently unused cobalt resources
  • developing new biotechnologies for effective extraction and processing of cobalt
Piauí deposit landscape
View from the top of the Piauí deposit

One resource with the potential for bioprocessing is limonitic laterite deposits, one of which is the Piauí nickel-cobalt laterite deposit in Brazil. Continue reading “Fieldwork in Brazil | CoG3 Consortium”

Copper futures: how Museum science searches for the copper we need | Sustainability

by Professor Richard Herrington, Head of the Department of Earth Sciences

The world needs copper – we all need copper. It carries the electricity and hot water in our homes through cables and pipes. It is part of all the electrical appliances we use at home and in industry – an essential ingredient in any low-carbon economy. The sources and security of supply of copper are important in economic terms and of great interest for government policy and business strategy.

Photo showing the deposit in the mountain side.
Quellaveco deposit (not yet being mined) in the Peruvian Andes. The white markers in the landscape mark the extent of the copper mineralisation at surface.

Every person in the UK uses around 8kg of copper per year. Worldwide usage exceeds 24 million tonnes annually and, whilst around 41% of European copper needs are met by recycling, the demands of growing economies like China and India mean that 75% of this usage is met by mined metal. Copper can’t be grown and simply recycling what we have already extracted won’t keep pace with demands.

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