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.  In his career, Rick has held senior executive roles in teams which have raised over $150m in venture capital investment, leading to the creation of over $2b in shareholder value.

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.  Effective January 2022, Rick was appointed to to the new role of SMI's Deputy Director - Production, a key operational and strategic leadership role with responsibility for BRC, JKMRC and MISHC.


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 and the Northern Territory Geological Survey.


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.

Click here to read Professor Rick Valenta's full bio on the Sustainable Minerals Institute website.