Photo of Prof Frances Wall

Prof Frances Wall

Professor of 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, and rapidly erupted extrusive carbonatites.
  • Responsible mining including ethical sourcing of metals, public perception of mining and energy issues in mining.


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


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

President of the Cornish Institute of Engineers
Member of the Women in Mining (UK) membership committee
Steering group member for the Cornwall Mining Alliance
Member of the Camborne School of Mines Trust

former President of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland (2014, 2015)
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    



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



  • MIREU - H2020 coordinating and support action. Creating a network of European mining regions. 2017-2020
  • REMIX - Interreg Europe project to improve regional mining-related policies, working with Cornwall Council and all local stakeholders, and sharing experience and learning with eight other countries across Europe.2017 - 2021
  • HiTech AlkCarb  - H2020 funded. New exploration models to explore deeper for alkaline rocks and carbonatites. February 2016- 2020. Twitter - @HiTech_AlkCarb 
  • 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   Twitter - @sosrare
    Includes  Sam Broom-Fendley (research fellow), Ed Loye (project management and industry relations),, 
    Rob Pell (PhD)
  • Critical Metals Alliance with the British Geological Survey
  • REE occurrence and enrichment in the weathered products of an A-type granite, Goias, Brazil. PhD project being carried out by Igor Vasconcelas Santana, now at the University of Brasilia.
  • 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. 
  • Optimizing a social licence to operate in the mining industry PhD project being carried out part time by Dylan McFarlane. Co- supervisors Caroline Digby, Kate Moore
  • Responsible Sourcing as Applied to Medium-Scale Mining Operations. PhD project being carried out by Tim Harrison. Co-supervisor Kip Jeffrey.
  • An enhanced understanding of the thermal and fluid history of a Variscan metallogenic province from critical metal investigations: The antimony and tungsten-bismuth deposits of south-west England. PhD being carried out part time by Eimear Deady, British Geological Survey. First supervisor Kate Moore. 
  • Socio-Economic Sustainability of Mining and Minerals Operations. PhD being carried out by Rezki Syahrir, co-supervisor Kip Jeffrey.

Recently completed projects

  • 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 was part time associate research fellow.
  • Tellus South West high resolution geophysical survey and TellusHow NERC innovation project
  • Geology to metallurgy of critical rare earths. NERC Security of Supply of Minerals catalyst grant, with with British Geological Survey, Universities of Leeds, St Andrews and Brighton and academic and industry partners. September 2013 to May 2014. Link to Gateway to Research project outcomes
  • 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.(completed)


Recently completed PhD and MSc by Research projects:

  • Mineralogy and mineral processing to optimise recovery of synchysite-(Ce) and apatite from carbonatite at Songwe Hill, Malawi. PhD project by Safaa Al Ali, co-supervised by Richard Pascoe, and in collaboration with Mkango Resources Ltd.
  • Targeting concentrations of mid and heavy rare earths in alkaline provinces. PhD project by Sam Broom-Fendley, co-supervised by Gus Gunn, Britiish Geological Survey. Funded by NERC, CASE partner Leominex (Mkango).
  • The geological controls on the heavy rare earth element enriched alteration zone at Area 4, Lofdal, Khorixas, Namibia. MSc by research by Ed Loye, funded by Namibia Rare Earths Inc
  • A geological study of the potential for rare earth element by-product recovery from Greek and other bauxite deposits. MSc by Research project by Evangelos Mouchos
  • Improved liberation and energy utilisation in materials breakage using high voltage pulses. PhD project  by  Klaas Peter van der Wielen in collaboration with SELFRAG AG.  
  • Geometallurgy of iron ores. PhD project by Kelvin Anderson, with logistic support from Afferro Mining
  • Using carbonate volcanism to understand mantle processes. NERC CASE PhD 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, 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 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 completed by Ben Snook. First supervisor Ben Williamson Co-funded by Norwegian Geological Survey. 


KEY PUBLICATIONS  (also see publications page and

Elliottt et al. (2017) Fenites associated with carbonatite complexes: A review. Ore Geology Reviews

Wall, Rollat, Pell (2017) Responsible Sourcing of Critical Metals, Elements, 13, 313-318.

Broom-Fendley et al. (2016) REE minerals at the Songwe Hill carbonatite, Malawi: HREE-enrichment in late-stage apatite. Ore Geology Reviews, 81, 23-41

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.

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.