My research interests and activity have focused to date on the genesis of hydrothermal mineral deposits. Within this field I take a broad view, encompassing aspects as diverse as regional tectonic and magmatic controls on mineralization, volcanology, and detailed ore depositional mechanisms. I have investigated the formation of various types of ore deposit, including sediment-hosted, vein-type, and porphyry-type copper, and mesothermal, epithermal, and porphyry gold mineralization. In addition to extensive fieldwork on six continents (mapping, sampling) I have utilized a full range of analytical techniques, including stable and radiogenic isotopes, geochronology, whole-rock geochemistry, mineralogy, and fluid inclusion microthermometric and compositional analysis.
My geological research activity currently focuses on the regional controls on porphyry copper and polymetallic epithermal mineralization, with specific focus on the Central Andean region of northern Chile and Argentina, and most recently the Tethyan belt of Turkey–Iran–Pakistan–Tibet. The objective of these studies is to understand events that led to the development and emplacement of Cenozoic porphyry copper magmas, through field mapping, geochronology, whole-rock geochemistry, and isotopic and fluid inclusion studies. In particular, focus has been brought to bear on deep crustal structural controls on magma emplacement, and characterization of such structures has extended my research deeply into the field of volcanology and magma emplacement mechanisms.
This fieldwork has been supported by the mining industry, various geological surveys and universities, as well as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
I also have a strong research interest in sustainable development, particularly as applied to the minerals industry. Several projects looking at various aspects of the industry have been initiated since 2001, five involving Ph.D., M.Sc., and MA students, and in 2002–2003 I was Chair of the Canadian Geoscience Council Standing Committee on Sustainable Mineral Resources Development. I have been invited to speak on this topic as a keynote speaker at several international conferences. In 2009, I edited and published a book entitled “Mining, Society, and a Sustainable World”.
I have also undertaken industry-funded contract research projects, and regularly consult to industry.