PhD Position: Coupling between antimony geochemistry and iron cycling in soil systems

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Sunday, January 19, 2020 - 20:00

Expressions of interest are invited for a PhD position in the Environmental Geochemistry & Mineralogy group of Prof Ed Burton at Southern Cross University, Australia. This group forms part of the vibrant Southern Cross GeoScience centre, based at the University’s Lismore campus in eastern Australia.

Antimony is a critical mineral resource which plays a rapidly growing role in our daily lives, yet it is also an environmental pollutant of increasing global concern. This project aims to advance our understanding on antimony’s environmental geochemistry by carefully unravelling interactions with the iron cycle in soils and related geo-environmental systems.

As part of a larger team, the successful candidate will contribute to the development of novel approaches to investigate the environmental geochemistry of antimony in relation to iron mineral transformations in contaminated soil, sediment and aquatic systems. You will conduct laboratory and field studies on how iron cycling and associated mineralogical transformation processes influences antimony behaviour, using state-of-the-art experimental and analytical techniques including stable isotope tracers, synchrotron spectroscopy, Mössbauer spectroscopy, and others.  This will provide novel insights into the behaviour of antimony in the environment. The outcomes will have direct implications for rehabilitation of antimony-contaminated landscapes, safe disposal of hazardous antimony-bearing wastes and sustainable exploitation of Australia’s valuable antimony reserves. More broadly, this project will expand our understanding of the effects of climate change on metal-mineral interactions in soil systems.

The ideal candidate is highly motivated for scientific research in environmental geochemistry and mineralogy with a special interest in the fate of inorganic contaminants. Applicants must hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) in environmental sciences, soil sciences, geo-ecology, geology, geochemistry, mineralogy, chemistry, or a related natural science discipline. Good knowledge of spoken and written English as well as excellent communication and team skills are expected.

Successful candidates will be offered a full-time PhD position and the project includes scholarship ($27,600 AUD pa), fee-waiver and an additional stipend to cover research costs of up to $5000 AUD pa will be available. Contingent on satisfactory performance, this will be extended to a total period of 3 years.

Applications must include a CV, academic grade transcripts, copies of previous research outputs and a cover letter outlining a summary of your research experience, your reasons for wanting to do a PhD and information on how your skills will be relevant to the project (email to This project aims to officially start in the first quarter of 2020, but there is some flexibility with the exact starting date (upon mutual agreement).

Contact: Prof Ed Burton,

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