Shane Webb


I am a PGR based in the Ores and Mineralisation Research Group at the University of Leeds, investigating the genesis of orogenic gold deposits in Scotland. I have a deep interest in the mining industry and the role that geoscience plays in it.


2019 – 2020: MSc Mineral Resources, University of St Andrews

2016 – 2019: BSc Geology, University of Birmingham

Research Interests

Orogenic gold, base metals (copper, zinc, and lead), mineral systems, orogenic belts, structural geology, alluvial gold.

Teaching interests

Field geology, igneous petrology, resource geology.

Project Title

‘Developing a metallogenic model for Caledonian mineralisation around Loch Tay, Scotland.’


Dr Taija Torvela, Dr Rob Chapman, Dr Jason Harvey, Dr Dan Morgan.


Panorama NERC DTP. Start year: 2020.

Project outline

Gold deposits in the Grampian Terrane formed between 465 and 400 million years ago, in association with an event known as the Caledonian Orogeny, which culminated in the assembly of the modern British Isles. Commercial gold mining has taken off throughout the Scottish and Irish Grampians, most notably at Curraghinalt and Cavanacaw in Northern Ireland. Recently, the Cononish Mine has moved towards production in Scotland. This has spurred commercial interest in other previously known Scottish deposits, including Loch Tay, which hosts several occurrences of gold and base metal mineralisation with Caledonian affinities. Historically, Loch Tay is better known for Precambrian barytes deposits; these have been mined since the 1970s for use in the North Sea oil industry.

The gold deposits around Loch Tay are problematic because they have characteristics of multiple ore-forming processes, meaning their genesis remains a mystery. Furthermore, the true age of mineralisation remains unknown. It is therefore impossible to assess the nature of the metallogenic processes that have resulted in the diverse mineral assemblages that we see today. This information is important from a commercial perspective – elucidating the mineralisation processes should provide more targets for exploration. However, renewable technologies, such as photovoltaic cells in solar panels or fuel cell catalysts, require significant quantities of gold and base metals. There is therefore a societal impetus to focus on developing domestic metal reserves in order to facilitate the green energy transition and reduce dependency on volatile international supply chains, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which offers a unique opportunity for humanity to wean itself off fossil fuels.

To pursue my research, I am utilising alluvial microchemical analyses, geochronology, geophysics (gravity and magnetic data), whole rock geochemistry (XRF and XRD) and traditional field geology techniques.