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Cam McCuaig

Honorary Fellow

School of Earth Sciences - Centre for Exploration Targeting

Contact details



Professor Cam McCuaig received his BSc from Lakehead University in 1988, and PhD in Geology from the University of Saskatchewan in 1996. Subsequently Cam moved to Australia, where with SRK Consulting he rose to the position of Director, garnering 10 years experience in providing solutions to the mineral exploration and mining industry. His experience spans 6 continents and numerous commodities in geological terranes ranging from Archean to Eocene in age, including gold, nickel, iron, copper, uranium, zinc, amongst others. Cam was the Director of the Centre for Exploration Targeting for 11 years. During this period his leadership resulted in a world-recognised sustainable research centre with >60 Corporate Members, 40 staff, 40 research PhD/ MSc students, a turnover of >$5M/yr and research outcomes that are impacting on exploration industry practice, yet also being recognised at the highest academic levels in publications such as Nature and Science. Cam is currently the Principal Geoscientist at the Geoscience Centre of Excellence within BHP Billiton.

Key Research

My current personal research interests include:

  1. Petrogenesis and emplacement of mafic-ultramafic magmas and controls on associated metal deposits (nickel, platinum-group elements). This entails a whole-earth approach to these metal systems. Current focus is on komatiite-hosted systems.
  2. Structural controls on mineral systems – from deposit to lithosphere scale. (a) Structures as permeability pathways for magmas and fluids (b) Structural modification of deposits by subsequent deformation. (c)Construction of 4D architectures (3D plus time) for terranes, and understanding where mineral systems fit within these frameworks.
  3. Mineral system approach to ore deposits, understanding systems - from lithosphere scale controls on sources of metals, fluids, energy, to understanding localized physical throttles for fluid/magma and chemical triggers causing metal deposition and accumulation.
  4. Exploration Targeting Geoscience

(a) Conceptual Targeting - how to take understanding of mineral systems and break them down into probabilistic targeting and ranking criteria, and application of these criteria in the computer environment to achieve targeting simulations to facilitate risk analysis.

(b) Empirical Targeting – quantifying and understanding controls on observed size frequency distributions of various styles of mineral deposits in a wide variety of geological terranes, and GIS-based targeting.

(c) Heuristics and human behaviour effects on exploration targeting.

(d) Marriage of business and research outcomes in practical targeting of mineral deposits.

Commodities of current interest

  • Au, Au/Cu systems of all agesUranium systemsOrthomagmatic Ni-Cu sulphide systems Sediment-hosted Pb-ZnVolcanogenic Cu-Zn
  • Stratigraphy and tectonic architecture of the Leonora and Southern Cross regions and controls on location of Ni-sulphide mineralisation, Yilgarn, WA (with Dr. John Miller, Dr. Steve Barnes (CSIRO), Dr Nicolas Thebaud, industry partner St. Barbara Mines)
  • Structural and metamorphic effects on the Flying Fox Orebody, Forrestania belt, Yilgarn Craton (Jane Collins – PhD study with Assoc. Prof. Steffen Hagemann, Industry Partners Western Areas/Newexco)
  • Fluid evolution in the New Celebration gold deposit, Western Australia (Joanna Hodge – pmd*CRC PhD study, with Assoc. Prof. Steffen Hagemann, Dr. Peter Neumayr)
  • 4D tectonic framework for the Western Tanami and its Au mineral systems (Leon Bagas – PhD study, Irainti Irianti – MSc study, with Dr. Frank Bierlein, Professor Mike Dentith, Dr. Eunjung Holden, industry partners MERIWA, GSWA, Tanami Gold)
  • Gold mineralisation in the western Qinling fold belt, Gansu Province China (PhD Zeng Qingtao, Dragon Mining, Peking University, Nanjing University)
  • Evolution of alkaline magmas and associated mineral systems, Red River Fault Zone, Western Yunnan Province, China (PhD Yongjun Lu, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences)


Said, N., Kerrich, R., Maier, W. D., and McCuaig, C., 2011, Behaviour of Ni-PGE-Au-Cu in mafic-ultramafic volcanic suites of the 2.7 Ga Kambalda Sequence, Kalgoorlie Terrane, Yilgarn Craton: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 75, p. 2882-2910.

Guj, P., Fallon, M., McCuaig, T. C., and Fagan, R., 2011, A Time-Series Audit of Zipf's Law as a Measure of Terrane Endowment and Maturity in Mineral Exploration: Economic Geology, v. 106, p. 241-259.

Porwal, A., González-Álvarez, I., Markwitz, V., McCuaig, T. C., and Mamuse, A., 2010, Weights-of-evidence and logistic regression modeling of magmatic nickel sulfide prospectivity in the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 38, p. 184-196.

McCuaig, T. C., Beresford, S., and Hronsky, J., 2010, Translating the mineral systems approach into an effective exploration targeting system: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 38, p. 128-138.

Markwitz, V., Maier, W. D., González-Álvarez, I., McCuaig, T. C., and Porwal, A., 2010, Magmatic nickel sulfide mineralization in Zimbabwe: Review of deposits and development of exploration criteria for prospectivity analysis: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 38, p. 139-155.

Kreuzer, O. P., Markwitz, V., Porwal, A. K., and McCuaig, T. C., 2010, A continent-wide study of Australia's uranium potential: Part I: GIS-assisted manual prospectivity analysis: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 38, p. 334-366.

Joly, A., Miller, J., and McCuaig, T. C., 2010, Archaean polyphase deformation in the Lake Johnston Greenstone Belt area: Implications for the understanding of ore systems of the Yilgarn Craton: Precambrian Research, v. 177, p. 181-198.

Joly, A., McCuaig, T. C., and Bagas, L., 2010, The importance of early crustal architecture for subsequent basin-forming, magmatic and fluid flow events. The Granites-Tanami Orogen example: Precambrian Research, v. 182, p. 15-29.

González-Álvarez, I., Porwal, A., Beresford, S. W., McCuaig, T. C., and Maier, W. D., 2010, Hydrothermal Ni prospectivity analysis of Tasmania, Australia: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 38, p. 168-183.

Ford, A., and McCuaig, T. C., 2010, The effect of map scale on geological complexity for computer-aided exploration targeting: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 38, p. 156-167.

Fiorentini, M. L., Beresford, S. W., Rosengren, N., Barley, M. E., and McCuaig, T. C., 2010, Contrasting komatiite belts, associated Ni-Cu-(PGE) deposit styles and assimilation histories: Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 57, p. 543-566.

Thebaud, N., Fiorentini, M. L., McCuaig, C., Miller, J., Barnes, S. J., Joly, A., and Doublier, M., 2009, Tectonostratigraphic controls on the localization of Archaean komatiite-hosted nickel-sulphide deposits and camps in the Yilgarn Craton: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Suppliment 1, v. 73, p. A1323.

McCuaig, T. C., and Hronsky, J. M. A., 2000, The Current Status and Future of the Interface between the Exploration Industry and Economic Geology Research: Society of Economic Geologists Reviews in Economic Geology, v. 13, p. 553-559.

McCuaig, T. C., and Kerrich, R., 1998, P-T-t-deformation-fluid characteristics of lode gold deposits; evidence from alteration systematics: Ore Geology Reviews, v. 12, p. 381-454.

Kent, A. J. R., and McCuaig, T. C., 1997, Disturbed Ar-40-Ar-39 Systematics In Hydrothermal Biotite and Hornblende At the Scotia Gold Mine, Western Australia - Evidence For Argon Loss Associated With Post-Mineralisation Fluid Movement: Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 61, p. 4655- 4669.

Xie, Q. L., Mccuaig, T. C., and Kerrich, R., 1995, Secular trends in the melting depths of mantle plumes - evidence from HFSE/REE systematics of Archean high-mg lavas and modern oceanic basalts: Chemical Geology, v. 126, p. 29-42.

Groves, D. I., Ridley, J. R., Bloem, E. M. J., Gebre-Mariam, G., Hagemann, S. G., Hronsky, J. M. A., Knight, J. T., McNaughton, N. J., Ojala, J., Vielreicher, R. M., McCuaig, T. C., and Holyland, P. W., 1995, Lode-gold deposits of the Yilgarn Block; products of late Archaean crustal-scale overpressured hydrothermal systems: Geological Society Special Publications, v. 95, p. 155-172.