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)

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.



  • 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
  • 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
  • Critical Metals Alliance with the British Geological Survey
  • 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 and TellusHow NERC innovation project
  • 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.
  •        Resource efficiency in phosphate deposits. PhD project being carried out by Safaa Al Ali. In collaboration with Mkango.
  •        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 and MSc by Research projects:

  • Targetting 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)

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.