After graduating from the State Talent Base of Geology, Northwest University, China, Ben Li started PhD research at the Centre for Exploration Targeting in the School of Earth and Environment in 2011.
Ben’s research investigated the Palaeoproterozoic tectonic, magmatic, metamorphic and thermal evolution, and gold mineralisation events of the Granites-Tanami Orogen (GTO). Ben’s work identified three major Palaeoproterozoic tectono-thermal events in the GTO (ca. 1850–1840 Ma, ca. 1795 Ma, and ca. 1723 Ma). The GTO was in a back-arc basin environment during ca. 1864 Ma and a post-collisional tectonic setting after ca. 1795 Ma.
Studies of in situ U-Pb geochronology and Sm-Nd isotope data of gold-associated hydrothermal monazite revealed the episode of ca. 1795–1780 Ma was a single major gold mineralisation event that took place across the GTO and that the gold was derived from the metasomatized lithospheric mantle.
Ben Li’s thesis was supervised by Prof Campbell McCuaig, Dr Leon Bagas, Dr Anthony Kemp and Prof John Miller.