Rick Valenta specialises in geology and geophysics applied to mineral exploration and mining

Professor Rick Valenta leads research aimed at improving the discovery,  mining and processing of hydrothermal ore deposits.  His areas of focus include structural geology, geophysics and ore deposit geology, with an overall theme of better understanding the underlying processes which lead to the localisation and characteristics of these deposits.  Rick also has a strong focus on development of 4D mineral systems models from deposit to region scales, using these models to improve targeting techniques, better formulate geological and resource models, and inform prediction of mineral processing performance.

Trained as a geologist, Rick worked for a short time in Petroleum exploration in Western Canada before coming to Australia to complete a PhD on the George Fisher Zn-Pb-Ag deposit in the Mount Isa region.  He then spent 5 years as a lecturer at Monash University in an industry-supported role aimed at developing the science and practice of structural interpretation of geophysical data.  During this period, Rick was involved in the development of very successful industry training programs and a significant number of publication and software outputs.

Rick then spent 23 years in industry roles including Chief Geologist, Chief Operating Officer, and multiple CEO roles. Companies and exploration teams under his direction have been involved in a significant number of mineral discoveries of copper, uranium and gold, as well as several transformative company transactions.

Rick is a Fellow of the AusIMM, a practising member of the Association of Professional Geologists of Ontario (APGO), a member of the Geological Society of Australia, the Society of Economic Geologists, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  He is also the Chair of the Resarch Committee of the Queensland Exploration Council.


Rick has regular contact with a broad range of mineral companies through his leadership role in the Northwest Mineral Province Discovery Initiative, supported by the Geological Survey of Queensland.  He is also involved in a number of collaborative industry projects.


Current established and developing collaborations exist with the UWA-CET, CODES U Tasmania, and EGRU at JCU, as well as the Geological Survey of Queensland.

Key Publications

Hitzman, M. W., Valenta, R.K. (2005). "Uranium in iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) systems." Econ. Geol. 100(8): 5.

Oliver, N. H. S., M. J. Rubenach and R. K. Valenta (1998). "Precambrian metamorphism, fluid flow and metallogeny of Australia." AGSO Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics 17: 31-53.

O'Dea, M. G., G. S. Lister, T. MacCready, P. G. Betts, N. H. S. Oliver, K. S. Pound and R. K. Valenta (1997). Geodynamic evolution of the Proterozoic Mount Isa terrain. Orogeny Through Time. J. P. Burg and M. Ford, Special Publication of the Geological Society of London. 21: 99-122.

Jessell, M. W. and R. K. Valenta (1996). Structural Geophysics: Integrated structural and geophysical modelling scheme. Structural Geology and Personal Computers. D. G. DePaor. Oxford, Elsevier Science Ltd.: 303-324.

Betts, P. G., Valenta, R.K., Finlay, J. (2003). "Evolution of the Mount Woods Inlier, northern Gawler Craton, Southern Australia: an integrated structural and aeromagnetic analysis." Tectonophysics 366(1-2): 29.


Rick is currently involved in a research project with the Geological Survey of Queensland – the Northwest Mineral Province Discovery Initiative.  He has been involved in two CRCs – one as a university participant in the AGCRC and the other as an industry participant in the PMDCRC.  He has also previously received ARC discovery and linkage funding.

Featured Projects

NW Mineral Province Deposit Atlas

GSQ-UQ Webinar Series