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Professor David Giles

Telephone +61 8 8313 7361
Position Director - Center for Mineral Exp Under Cover
Fax +61 8 8313 4347
Building Mawson Laboratories
Floor/Room G 06
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit Earth Sciences

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Biography/ Background

I am the State of South Australia Chair of Mineral Exploration and Director of the Centre for Mineral Exploration Under Cover (CMXUC) at the University of Adelaide. The CMXUC and its associated chair were created in 2005 following a grant to the University of Adelaide from Primary Industries and Resources South Australia. The aim of the CMXUC is to develop and implement the next generation of exploration geoscience - specifically focussing on the issue of exploring beneath the veneer of sedimentary cover and weathered rock that conceals much of the Australian continent.

This is an exciting challenge that requires us to bring together the best of academic, government and industry research, from its most esoteric to its most pragmatic. The rewards of success will be exciting science facillitating mineral discovery and building wealth for the nation.

Previous Positions

Between 2003 and 2006 I was chief investigator on an ARC Linkage Project, in collaboration with BHP Billiton, concerned with the development of base metal mineral deposits in Proterozoic basins. This research focused on the evolution of Proterozoic mobile belts from the formation of magmatic and sedimentary basins, through their burial, deformation and metamorphism in the cores of ancient mountain belts, and their eventual exhumation to the surface of the Earth.

Between 1996 and 2000 I was a PhD student at Monash University, supervised by Prof Gordon Lister within the School of Geosciences, Australian Crustal Research Centre.

From 1992 to 1996 I worked for a number of mineral exploration companies searching for Au and Ni in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.


PhD, Monash University, 2000
BSc(Hons), Monash University, 1992

Research Interests

My major research interests include: (1) developing and applying geoscience concepts and techniques for mineral exploration in regions covered by recent sediments or deep weathering profiles; (2) the evolution of geologic processes through time, and in particular the relationships between mineralization and tectonic processes; (3) the interplay between processes acting at different scales of length and time – from the weather (years) to plate tectonics (millions of years) to the gradual cooling of the Earth (billions of years) and; (4) the architecture of the Proterozoic lithosphere and its associated mineral systems.

A major underlying theme of my work is that mineral systems can be (indeed must be) understood within the context of the tectonic environment in which they formed. The nature and size of mineral systems is a function of tectonic regime in the same way as sedimentation, magmatism, deformation and metamorphism. Whilst we know something of the broad relationships between tectonics and metallogenesis (for example, porphyry Cu-Au deposits form in magmatic arcs) we know little about the primary controls on that mineralization (for example, why some sections of magmatic arcs are devoid of large deposits while other sections are exceedingly well endowed). Questions of this nature are fundamental to the search for mineral resources.

My primary training is in structural geology and tectonics, however my research has utilized a range of techniques including metamorphic analysis, geochronology, geophysical interpretation and geochemistry.


Giles, D., Ailleres, L., Jeffries, D., Betts, P.G. and Lister, G.S., (2006). Crustal architecture of basin inversion during the Proterozoic Isan Orogeny, eastern Mount Isa Inlier, Australia. Precambrian Research, 148: 67-84.

Betts, P.G. and Giles, D., (2006). The 1800-1100 Ma tectonic evolution of Australia. Precambrian Research, 144: 92-125.

Betts, P.G., Giles, D., Mark, G., Goleby, B.R., Lister, G.S. and Ailleres, L, (2006). A synthesis of the Proterozoic Evolution of the Mount Isa Inlier. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 53: 187-211.

Giles, D., Betts, P.G., Ailleres, L., Hulscher, B., Hough, M. and Lister, G.S., (2006). Evolution of the Isan Orogeny at the south eastern margin of the Mount Isa Inlier. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 53: 91-108.

Rosenbaum, G., Giles, D., Saxon, M., Betts, P.G., Weinberg, R.F. and Duboz, C. (2005). Subduction of the Nazca Ridge and the Inca Plateau: Insights into the formation of ore deposits in Peru. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 239: 18-32.

Boger, S.D., Raetz, M., Giles, D., Etchart, E. and Fanning C.M., 2005. U–Pb age data from the Sunsas region of Eastern Bolivia, evidence for the allochthonous origin of the Paragua Block. Precambrian Research, 139: 121-146.

Betts, P.G., Giles, D., & Lister, G.S., 2004. Aeromagnetic patterns of half-graben and basin inversion: Implications for sediment-hosted massive sulfide Pb-Zn-Ag exploration. Journal of Structural Geology, 26: 1137-1156.

Giles, D. & Betts, P.G., 2004. 1.8-1.5 Ga links between the North and South Australian Cratons and the Early-Middle Proterozoic configuration of Australia. Tectonophysics, 380: 27-41.

Betts, P.G., Giles, D., Lister, G.S., 2003. Tectonic environment of shale-hosted massive sulphide Pb-Zn-Ag deposits of Proterozoic northeastern Australia. Economic Geology, 98: 557-576.

Giles, D. and Nutman, A.P., 2003. SHRIMP U-Pb zircon dating of the host rocks of the Cannington Ag-Pb-Zn deposit, southeastern Mount Isa Block, Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 50: 295-309.

Betts, P.G., Giles, D., Lister, G.S., and Frick L.R., 2002. Evolution of the Australian Lithosphere. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 49: 661-696.

Giles, D. & Betts, P.G. & Lister G.S., 2002. A continental back-arc setting for the Early Proterozoic basins of north-eastern Australia. Geology, 30: 823-826.

Giles, D. and Nutman, A.P., 2002. Timing of amphibolite facies metamorphism in the eastern Mount Isa Inlier: evidence from SHRIMP U-Pb monazite geochronology. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 49: 455-465.

Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesMining & Energy
ExpertiseMineral exploration, mining, mineral deposits, education and training for the minerals industry, geology of Australia, plate tectonics
Mobile0434 483 749

Entry last updated: Wednesday, 13 Jul 2016

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