Geochemical Exploration Tools for Exploration and Mining Geologists: From A-horizon to Z-score.


This online version of the successful 3-days Exploration Geochemistry short course, originally established in 2015, provides an alternative to the classroom-based course and facilitates independent study in your own time, wherever you are based around the world. This format will be particularly useful to postgraduate students, young industry professionals and mid-level career geologists who intend to improve their skills in geochemical exploration techniques, but cannot attend classroom-based courses in person, or prefer to study the learning materials over the course of several weeks.

The online course comprises approx. 11 hours of concise video lecture materials, which are subdivided into 12 study blocks. Each block requires to pass a short test, either in quiz or essay format, to successfully move on to the next block. A final exercise, comprising 40 independent study hours will comprise a geochemical targeting desktop study utilising a large public domain dataset, which allows you to put your newly acquired skills into practice and use GIS and ioGas software to generate regional exploration targets by employing a suite of univariate, multivariate and lithogeochemical mapping techniques. The online course is supported by up to 4h of live online, individual or group (based on demand) tutorial sessions with the course leader, Benedikt Steiner.

Total study time

11 hours videos + 25 hours independent study time + 4 hours quizzes + 40 hours final report = 80 hours

Software requirements

Microsoft Office (incl. Teams), GIS (ArcMap or QGIS), ioGAS (available as 10-day trial packages from



  • Block 1: Fundamentals of exploration geochemistry – Primary/ secondary dispersion, orientation studies
  • Block 2: Soil Sampling
  • Block 3: Glacial Till Sampling
  • Block 4: Stream Sediment Sampling
  • Block 5: Rock Sampling and other specialised techniques
  • Block 6: Analytical Geochemistry
  • Block 7: Quality Assurance Quality Control (QAQC)


  • Block 8: Interpretation of geochemical data and trace element mapping
  • Block 9: Univariate anomaly detection and Introduction to ioGAS software
  • Block 10: Geochemical Levelling
  • Block 11: Concepts of lithogeochemical analysis and mapping
  • Block 12: Principal Component Analysis (PCA)
  • Final Exercise: SE Ireland VMS and LCT pegmatite exploration targeting (independent study time: 40h, essay/ report 15 pages maximum)

80h study time

4h live tutorials


Certificate for successful participation


What is the overall concept of the course?

This course is designed for geoscientists who are interested in developing their geochemical exploration skills and actively use these skills in subsequent industry or research projects. The course is suited for both recent graduates and young professionals with less than 5 years industry experience, but also mid-career professionals who aim to upskill in geochemical exploration and analysis techniques. For this reason, the course contains a variety of topics that will satisfy and challenge both junior and senior geoscience professionals.

The course was developed in light of upskilling geoscientists particularly in the area of data handling, analysis and interpretation applied to mineral exploration targeting. Whilst most geoscientists are aware of basic geochemical exploration and data visualisation techniques, advanced statistical treatment and analysis is an area that many companies have identified to be a priority for staff skill development. For this reason, this course comprises an introduction to the fundamental geochemical exploration techniques, followed by an introduction to more complex and challenging data interpretation skills.

At the end of the course you will have developed an insight into what can be done with geochemical data and, importantly, how the data reflects the sample medium, geological and mineralisation processes and systems, and therefore possible exploration targets. Equipped with these skills you will be able to make a substantial impact on your own work and project.

How does the online course work?

The online course has been developed on the basis of a 3-day classroom-based course which I have been running since 2015. The difference is that you will be able to study in your own time and are not required to digest the information within 3 days.

The overall study hours and time commitment for this course is 80 hours which includes time to watch the videos and read the lecture notes, to reflect on the content, and to carry out the different assessments and tasks associated with each study block. If you commit a minimum of 1-2 hours every day on the study materials you will be able to complete the course in 1.5 months.

I recommend that you spend a good amount of time going through the lecture content and familiarise with the points highlighted. Some of the lectures are up to 50 minutes in length, and a good approach will be to watch the videos step-by-step and topic-by-topic.

The skills taught in the lecture blocks in the first part of the course are assessed by quizzes of up to 5 multiple choice questions each. You will have to get at least 80% of the answers right in order to proceed to the next block. There is a possibility to re-take the quizzes, if you were unsuccessful. The final assessment (50% pass requirement) will comprise a longer essay of up to 15 pages in length that aims to synthesise the knowledge developed throughout the course in a practical exploration targeting assignment. Upon successful completion of the exercise you will be awarded a completion certificate that can be used to support your CPD activities.

I will be available to support your learning and I offer 4 x 1-hour tutorial sessions with you during the duration of the course. These tutorials will either be run individually or as part of a study group, depending on the number of participants enrolled at the time. I reserve the right to determine the timings and nature of these individual or group tutorials. You should determine yourself at what point during the course you require help and a tutorial session. Please email me directly to enquire for my availability to run a tutorial session. I prefer to run these on Microsoft Teams (no subscription needed) as Teams offers very good online meeting facilities.

What software packages are required for the course?

You will require access to software packages such as Microsoft Office and Teams, ArcMap or QGIS and ioGas®. The latter can be downloaded with a free trial license valid for 10 days. Please note that if you do not have a subscription to the software, you need to carefully plan the time and work around your assignment so that you can achieve all the data analysis in the period of free trial license. There are a number of videos included providing an introduction to ioGas® software. However, you should already be equipped with the required Excel and GIS skills to produce professional map layouts.

How do the subscription and invoicing work?

The course is designed to run over a period of two months which is the usual term duration in the UK education system. As described above, you should easily be able to complete the course within this timeframe, if you regularly invest time and engage with the learning materials.

If you take more time to complete the course and to obtain your certificate, you will need to take out extensions on a monthly basis. Your access to the course content will be re-established when you have paid for the extension.

Please note that it will be your responsibility to finish the different assessment milestones in the available timeframe. For example, if you do not successfully finish the learning materials and the final assessment in the timeframe of the current subscription, you will be required to take out another month of subscription. In any case you will be able to keep the lecture slide packs for reference.


After successful enrollment, you will receive a receipt of payment. For a full invoice including VAT please contact me after your purchase. If you are not based in the UK, please note that due to how VAT on online learning products works in the UK, I will not be able to send you invoices excluding VAT. This means that all invoices will contain UK VAT regardless of your place of residence. Please email with your details to receive an invoice.

What happens if your 60-day or monthly access times out?

If you try to login after your access to the website expired, you will be automatically redirected to the course webpage. If you would like to continue your subscription, please email and ask for your access to be re-established. An electronic payment link will then be generated and after receiving your payment, your access will be re-established.



Your course access is paid with a one-time fee and is valid for 60 days. If you need access after the 60-day period, you can contact the course leader for a renewal.

Standard participant

Base subscription (60 day access):

£ 660 (incl. VAT)

Monthly renewal (additional 30 days access):

£ 180 (incl. VAT)

EurGeol title holder

Base subscription (60 day access):

£ 530 (incl. VAT)

Please email a confirmation of your EurGeol title (as  .PDF, .JPG, or .PNG) to , and you will receive a voucher code entitling you to the reduced rate.

Monthly renewal (additional 30 days access):

£ 145 (incl. VAT)

GSL Fellows 

Base subscription (60 day access):

£ 595 (incl. VAT)

Please email a confirmation of your GSL fellowship (as  .PDF, .JPG, or .PNG) to , and you will receive a voucher code entitling you to the reduced rate.

Monthly renewal (additional 30 days access):

£ 165 (incl. VAT)


Base subscription (60 day access):

£ 330 (incl. VAT)

Please email a certificate of University enrollment (as  .PDF, .JPG, or .PNG) to , and you will receive a voucher code entitling you to the reduced rate.

Monthly renewal (additional 30 days access):

£ 90 (incl. VAT)