The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Pierre Josso

PhD Studentship entitled: Investigating the formation and potential recovery of Rare Earth Elements and Critical Metals (Co, Se, Sb) from a sea floor analogue: Troodos Ophiolite, Cyprus

Pierre Josso's Photo

Hi, I'm Pierre Josso and I studied within Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute at the University of Southampton.

I undertook my bachelor degree and the first year of my Master's in engineering geology at LaSalle Polytechnic Institute in Beauvais near Paris. Specialising in mining geology, I studied the second year of my Master's as an exchange student in Sudbury (Ontario, Canada) with the objectives of improving my English skills and to give me the opportunity to live abroad, which was an unforgettable experience.

In January 2013, I returned to France and commenced my thesis working at the French research institute on marine resources, Ifremer in Brest. My work there was focused on the geochemistry and metallogenic aspects of the various occurrences of ferromanganese oceanic deposits. I then had the opportunity to present my results during the international congress of the Goldschmidt Conference in Florence last August, developing the speciation of rare earth elements (REE) and metals with Mn and Fe oxides in marine metalliferous sediment. It is through this interest that I was attracted by Steve Roberts and Deamon Teagle’s project to undertake my PhD at the NOC. The aim is to investigate the potential recovery of REE and other critical metals from a sea-floor analogue, the Troodos ophiolites in Cyprus.

Mineralogical analysis, samples supply and lab facilities will also be available from the Natural History Museum in London supervised by Richard Herrington. I will also work with Carlos Ponce De Leon Albarran of the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment at the University for the electro-chemical engineering part of my thesis, trying to develop the best chemical processes for the extraction of elements of economic interest. My project is driven by the actual economic context of REE’s market. As sea-floor resources are attracting acute interest and technological and environmental considerations put huge constraints on such exploitations, it is necessary to explore analogues within our reach. The comparison of the studied area with actual sea-floor deposits will allow us to have a better understanding on the processes of how such elements are integrated in minerals, and if they could constitute mineable resources with regard to their concentrations and extraction processes.

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