91579 - Environmental Impact and Analysis

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Clean water and sanitation Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

This course aims at providing an integrated and quantitative understanding of the geochemical processes leading to the genesis of mineral deposits, their environmental impact, and the analytical questions linking them. The first module will focus on analysis of rocks and minerals. The second module will focus on analysis of fluids and gases.

Course contents

The objective of this course is giving the students an introduction to the geochemical processes, techniques, and methods that are necessary to quantify and model the genesis of primary mineral deposits (typical ore bodies), recover secondary raw materials, quantify rock-fluid-gas interactions in geological environments, and also evaluate environmental risks and rehabilitation good practices associated to RM exploitation. The course contents will include electrolyte theory; concept and use of equilibrium constants in geochemistry; chemical potential diagrams; metal partitioning, solubility, and transport in natural aqueous solutions; solubility of ore and gangue minerals; saturation index and its applications; mineral stability diagrams; Eh-pH diagrams; stable isotope systematics; environmental impact and consequent rehabilitation of natural and man-made pollution.

At the end of the course the students will gain the fundamental geochemical tools to RM exploration, and evaluation of environmental impact. A number of seminars from industry and institutional partners will provide hands-on knowledge and case studies of applications of geochemical tools.


Anderson G. (2017). Thermodynamics of Natural Systems. Cambridge University Press, 3rd Edition

Barnes H.L. (1997). Geochemistry of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits: Wiley & Sons, Inc.. 3rd Edition

Treatise in Geochemistry (2003). Environmental Geochemistry. Vol. 9. p. 1-203. Elsevier

Papers and additional reading material will be distributed as well

Teaching methods

Class teaching;

Laboratory excercises;


Assessment methods

1. Level of independence and effectiveness during classroom exercises – 25%

2. Written test – 50%

3. Oral test – 25%

Teaching tools

Laboratory excercises;

Seminars provided by external instructors from academia and industry

Office hours

See the website of Paolo Garofalo