Earth Sciences
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​​​​​Dr. Bjorn von der Heyden



phone : (0)21-808-3122


Bjorn von der Heyden completed his Ph.D. in geology at Stellenbosch University in 2013 and subsequently spent two years working as a geologist in the South African minerals sector for Exxaro Resources Ltd. After his exposure to the mining industry, he returned to academia appointed as a lecturer in Economic Geology. In this role, he places equal emphasis on generating and publishing exciting new science, and on providing high-quality education to the next generation of African earth scientists.

Research Interests

Controls on hydrothermal classes of ore mineralisation (notably gold)
Synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy
Applied geometallurgy 


Third year level: Economic Geology
Honours level: Mineral Economics
Honours level: Ore microscopy
Honours level: Geostatistics
Honours level: Two-week mine/geology of South Africa tour
External course: Geology for Engineers

Relevant research grants

DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resource Analysis (CIMERA) funding for two M.Sc. level student projects, and one Ph.D. level research project.
NRF Unrated Researcher Grant (2017-2019): Principal Investigator- Gold mineralisation in sub-Saharan Africa 
Royal Academy of Engineering Higher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa Grant (2018-2020): Research Partner- Industrial Minerals in Zimbabwe

Publication highlights

Babedi, L., Tadie, M., Neethling, P. and von der Heyden, B.P., 2021. A fundamental assessment of the impacts of cation (Cd, Co, Fe) substitution on the molecular chemistry and surface reactivity of sphalerite. Minerals Engineering 160, 106695.
Dunn, S.C. and von der Heyden, B.P., 2021. Gold remobilization in gossans of the Amani area, southwestern Tanzania. Ore Geology Reviews 104033.
Von der Heyden, B.P., 2020. Shedding light on ore deposits: A review of synchrotron X-ray radiation use in ore geology research. Ore Geology Reviews 117, 103328.
Dunn, S.C., von der Heyden, B.P., Rozendaal, A., Taljaard, R., 2019. Secondary gold mineralisation in the Amani Gold Placer Deposit, Tanzania. Ore Geology Reviews 107, 87-107.
von der Heyden, B.P., 2019. Interviews with professional geologists enhance learning about the applied aspects of economic geology for final-year university students. Journal of Geoscience Education 67(1), 20-33.
von der Heyden, B.P., Roychoudhury, A.N., Tyliszczak, T., Myneni, S.C.B., 2017. Investigating nanoscale mineral compositions: Iron L3-edge spectroscopic evaluation of iron oxide and oxy-hydroxide coordination, American Mineralogist 102 (3), 674-685.
von der Heyden, B.P., Roychoudhury, A.N., Mtshali, T.N., Tyliszczak, T. and Myneni, S.C.B., 2012. Chemically and geographically distinct solid-phase iron pools in the Southern Ocean, Science 338, 1191 – 1201.
For full publication list please visit google scholar “​"

Student supervision

Since 2016, 20 Honours-level students and three M.Sc. students and one Ph.D. student have been graduated from the Economic Geology study group at Stellenbosch University. 

Current M- and D-level students contributing to the study group include:
Steve Chingwaru (M.Sc.): Gold deportment in sulphide minerals from the Witwatersrand paleoplacer deposit.
Yann Waku (M.Sc.): Gold mineralisation in the Moto greenstone belt, DRC.
Tanisha Schultz (M.Sc.): Mineral chemistry alteration signatures associated with high grade gold mineralisation, Barberton. 
Ryan Rosenfels (M.Sc.): Copper and Cobalt mineralisation in the Fungurume 88 deposit, DRC. 
Muofhe Tshibalanganda (M.Sc.): X-ray Computed Tomography as a tool in oil and gas exploration.
Stephan Dunn (Ph.D.): Gold Mineralisation in the Amani hills, Ubendian mobile belt, SW Tanzania.
Lebogang Babedi (Ph.D.): Characterisation of electronic structure and surface properties of auriferous pyrite.


2018: Stellenbosch University Teaching Excellence Award: Developing Teacher category
2017: Runner-up Award 10th Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference (Stellenbosch University)
2009: Haughton Award (Geological Society of South Africa): Best Honours research thesis in South Africa in 2009.

Professional Affiliations

Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA): Member number 968331
Society of Economic Geologists: Member number 909238
Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits: Member number 3969-17
Centre of Excellence for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resources (CIMERA): Research partner.
Mineralogical Society of South Africa (MINSA): co-opted committee member.
African Light Source Initiative: committee member for international conference organisation