Photo of Prof Frances Wall

Prof Frances Wall

Professor in Applied Mineralogy


Telephone: 01326 371831


  • Formation of ore deposits, including rare earths, niobium, tantalum and phosphate deposits
  • Issues of critical metals 
  • Carbonatites and alkaline rocks: fundamental controls on their petrogenesis, including mantle metasomatism, formation of graphite and diamond-bearing carbonatites and rapidly erupted extrusive carbonatites.
  • Responsible mining including ethical sourcing of metals, public perception of mining and energy issues in mining.
  • Women in Mining   100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining


BSc Hons first class Geochemistry Queen Mary College, London 1984
PhD Mineral chemistry and petrogenesis of rare earth rich carbonatites, University of London, 2000


Fellow of the Mineralogical Society (F.Min.Soc.)
Fellow of the Geological Society (FGS)
Chartered Scientist (CSci)

President of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland (2014, 2015)
Member of the Women in Mining (UK) membership committee

former General Secretary of the Mineralogical Society
former Communication Officer of the International Mineralogical Association
former member of Applied Mineralogy Group Committee



2015- Professor of Applied Mineralogy

2007- Associate Professor of Applied Mineralogy

2008-2014 Head of Camborne School of Mines

2007- Natural History Museum, London, UK
Scientific Associate

1984-2007 Various posts including research and petrology programme leader in the Department of Mineralogy, Natural History Museum, London, UK



'SOS RARE' CONSOTRIUM PROJECT, part of the Natural Environment Council SoS Minerals programme

Twitter - @sosrare 


SoS RARE PhD topics, to start Septemter 2015


Alkali roasting to remove actinides

University of Leeds (Institute of Materials Research),
contact Animesh Jha 

(NB – with apologies to overseas candidates, these PhD projects are available only to UK-based students)



I welcome other PhD enquiries related to my research interests and have a number of overseas students funded by scholarships from their home countries.



  • Critical Metals Alliance with the British Geological Survey
  • SoS RARE. NERC Security of Supply of Minerals consortium grant, with the British Geological Survey, Univerisites of Leeds, Sheffield, St Andrews and Brighton and academic and industry partners. May 2015 to April 2019. Link to Grants on the web
  • Geology to metallurgy of critical rare earths. NERC Security of Supply of Minerals catalyst grant, with with British Geological Survey, Univerisites of Leeds, St Andrews and Brighton and academic and industry partners. September 2013 to May 2014. Link to Gateway to Research project outcomes
  • Impact Accelerator Award. To exchange knowledge gained as the result of the NERC-funded catalyst grant Geology to Geometallurgy of Critical Rare Earth. Ed Loye is part time associate research fellow.
  • Tellus South West high resolution geophysical survey
  • ImpactMin FP7 project (Impact Monitoring of Mineral Resources Exploitation), leading WP3 on socio-economic aspects of mining, including public perception of mining and the carbon footprint of the mining industry.
  • The geological controls on the heavy rare earth element enriched alteration zone at Area 4, Lofdal, Khorixas, Namibia. MSc by research being carried out by Ed Loye, funded by Namibia Rare Earths Inc. 
  • Targetting concentrations of mid and heavy rare earths in alkaline provinces. PhD project being carried out by Sam Broom-Fendley, co-supervised by Gus Gunn, Britiish Geological Survey. Funded by NERC, CASE partner Leominex (Mkango).
  •        Resource efficiency in phosphate deposits. PhD project being carried out by Safaa Al Ali. In collaboration with Mkango.
  • A geological study of the potential for rare earth element by-product recovery from Greek and other bauxite deposits. MSc by Research project being carried out by Evangelos Mouchos.
  • REE occurrence and enrichment in the weathered products of an A-type granite, Goias, Brazil. PhD project being carried out by Igor Vasconcelas Santana.
  •         Proterozoic mantle lithosphere as a source of Critical Metals: insights from carbonate-rich magmatic rocks. PhD project being carried out by Dora Kavecsanszki. First supervisor Kate Moore, in collaboration with Paul Lusty, BGS.


  • Critical metals in granites of Peninsular Malaysia. PhD project being carried out by Siti Zaniza Tohar. First supervisor Ben Williamson. 


Recently completed PhD projects:

  • Improved liberation and energy utilisation in materials breakage using high voltage pulses. PhD project recently carried out by  Klaas Peter van der Wielen in collaboration with SELFRAG AG.
  • Geometallurgy of iron ores. PhD project carried out by Kelvin Anderson, with logistic support from Afferro Mining
  • Using carbonate volcanism to understand mantle processes. NERC CASE PhD recently completed by Emma Humphreys-Williams, co-supervised by Professor C.J. Hawkesworth FRS and the late Professor D.K. Bailey.
  • Postmagmatic Mineralisation and Fluid Processes in Carbonatite systems. PhD project, recently completed by Emma Dowman, joint with Kingston University, co-supervised by Professor A.H. Rankin, Professor Peter Treloar.
  • The Geology, Mineralogy and Geochemical features of the primary HREE-enriched Carbonatite Complex at Lofdal, Namibia, PhD project recently completed by Vicky do Cabo, Geological Survey of Namibia. Co-supervisor Professor Hilary Downs, Birkbeck College, London.
  • Developing exploration tools for high purity quartz and rare metals in the south Norwegian Bamble-Evje pegmatite cluster PhD project recently completed by Ben Snook. First supervisor Ben Williamson Co-funded by Norwegian Geological Survey. 


KEY PUBLICATIONS  (also see publications page)

Wall F. (2014) Rare Earth Elements.  In: Critical Metals Handbook (Gus Gunn, Editor)  John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 456 pp.

Chakhmouradian AR, Wall F. (2012)  Rare earth elements: minerals, mines, magnets (and more), Elements, volume 8, no. 5, pages 333-340, DOI:10.2113/gselements.8.5.333.

Wall, F and Zaitsev, A.N. (2004) Phoscorites and Carbonatites from Mantle to Mine: the Key Example of the Kola Alkaline Province. Mineralogical Society Series, 10. Mineralogical Society, London, 503 pp.

Jones, A.P., Wall, F. & Williams, C.T. (1996) Rare Earth Minerals: Chemistry, origin and ore deposits Mineralogical Society Series 7, Chapman and Hall, London.

Humphreys, E.R., Bailey D.K., Hawkesworth C.J., Wall F., Najorka J. (2010) Aragonite in olivine xenocrysts from Calatrava, Spain - evidence for mantle carbonatite melts from greater than 100km depth. Geology.

Rosatelli, R., Wall, F., Stoppa, F, Brilli, M. (2010).  Geochemical distinctions between igneous carbonate, calcite cements, and limestone xenoliths (Polino carbonatite, Italy):  spatially resolved LAICPMS analyses. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology.

Moore K. R., Wall. F., Divaev, F.K., Savatenkov. V.M. (2009)  Mingling of carbonatite and silicate magmas under turbulent flow conditions: Evidence from rock textures and mineral chemistry in sub-volcanic carbonatite dykes in Chagatai, Uzbekistan.  Lithos 110, 65-82. doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2008.11.013

Wall, F. Niku-Paavola, V.N., Storey, C., Mueller, A. and Jeffries, T. (2008) Xenotime-(Y) from carbonatite dykes at Lofdal, Namibia: unusually low light to heavy REE ratio in carbonatite, and the first dating of xenotime overgrowths on zircon. Canadian Mineralogist, Special issue on Carbonatites in honour of John Gittins, 46, 1251-1267.

Wall, F., Williams, C.T., Woolley, A.R. (1996) Pyrochlore from weathered carbonatite at Lueshe, Zaire, Mineralogical Magazine, 60, 731-750.