​Dr René Heyn


  • Lecturer
  • Ph (021) 808 3116, Fax (021) 808 3129
  • Email rheyn@sun.ac.za


  • B.Sc. Geology and Geography: 2000, Rand Afrikaans University.
  • B.Sc. Hons Geology: 2001, Rand Afrikaans University.
  • M.Sc. Geology (Cum Laude): 2004, Rand Afrikaans University.
  • Ph.D. Geology: 2008, University of Johannesburg.

Research profile:

René's research has involved the integration of geochronological, structural, and metamorphic data to unravel the geologic evolution of complexly deformed and metamorphosed high-grade terrains. Her recent research has expanded to the field of economic geology with a keen interest in sustainable energy and mineral resource development.


Recent student research supervision:

Emil Burger, hons candidate (2014) - Mineralogy of the pegmatiodal pyroxenite Pseudo reef in the western Bushveld Complex, South Africa.

Lebogang Lekoto, hons candidate (2014) - The Petrogenesis of the Oup Ni-Cu-Co Magmatic Sulphide Deposit, Northern Cape, SA: A study of the Geochemistry and Mineralogy.

Elmar Human, hons candidate (2015) - Wall rock characteristics and associated exo-skarn related mineralization of the Riviera pluton, Cape Granite Suite, Western Cape, South Africa.

Dolf Dorfling, hons candidate (2016) - Slope stability investigation along the Kaaimans River Pass, South Africa.

Boitumelo Kolwane, hons candidate (2016) - Mineral and geochemical characteristics of feldspar in the hydrothermally altered Neoproterozoic Riviera Pluton, Cape Granite Suite Western Cape South Africa.

Carene Mouton, hons candidate (2017) - X-ray micro-computed tomography approach to the quality control and fingerprinting of coloured gemstones.



Available MSc research project for 2020: X-ray micro-computed tomography (μCT) approach to the characterization of gemstones

Project description: During the last three decades, the disclosure of gemstone treatment, such as fracture filling to improve clarity or heat treatment to enhance colour, has been a topic of controversy in the gemstone industry. This is further driven by the lack of an accepted classification code for coloured gemstones (any gemstone other than diamonds). Fracture filling for example, has the ability to significantly increase the value of essentially poor quality gems and is difficult to visually detect and quantify without resorting to destructive and time consuming methods. When such enhancing treatments are not disclosed it poses a threat to consumer confidence of an industry valued at US$10–$15 billion. This project will investigate the potential of X-ray micro computed tomography (micro-CT or μCT) as a routine and non-destructive method to aid the detection and quantification of clarity enhancement within gemstones as well as providing a fingerprint unique for every gemstone. The project will be well suited to a student with interests in mineralogy.




Van Reenen, D.D., Perchuk, L.L., Smit, C.A., Varlamov, D.A., Boshoff, R., Huizenga, J.M. and Gerya, T.V., 2004. Structural and P–T evolution of a major cross fold in the Central Zone of the Limpopo high-grade terrain, South Africa. Journal of Petrology, 45(7), pp.1413-1439.

Boshoff, R., Reenen, D.V., Smit, C.A., Perchuk, L.L., Kramers, J.D. and Armstrong, R., 2006. Geologic history of the Central Zone of the Limpopo Complex: the West Alldays area. The Journal of geology, 114(6), pp.699-716.

Perchuk, L.L., Van Reenen, D.D., Varlamov, D.A., Van Kal, S.M. and Boshoff, R., 2008. P–T record of two high-grade metamorphic events in the Central Zone of the Limpopo Complex, South Africa. Lithos, 103(1), pp.70-105.

Van Reenen, D.D., Boshoff, R., Smit, C.A., Perchuk, L.L., Kramers, J.D., McCourt, S. and Armstrong, R.A., 2008. Geochronological problems related to polymetamorphism in the Limpopo Complex, South Africa. Gondwana Research, 14(4), pp.644-662.

Smit, C.A., van Reenen, D.D., Roering, C., Boshoff, R., Perchuk, L.L. 2011. Neoarchean to Paleoproterozoic evolution of the polymetamorphic Central Zone of the Limpopo Complex. The Geological Society of America, Memoir 207.

Van Reenen, D.D., Smit, C.A., Perchuk, L.L., Roering, C., Boshoff, R. 2011. Thrust exhumation of the Neoarchean ultrahigh-temperature Southern Marginal Zone, Limpopo Complex: Convergence of decompression-cooling paths in the haning wall and prograde P-T paths in the footwall, The Geological Society of America, Memoir 207.

Rozendaal, A. & Boshoff, R., 2011. Rare Earth Element Mineralogy and its Recovery from the Neoproterozoic Riviera W–Mo Deposit, South Africa. 10th International congress for applied mineralogy, pp. 605-612.

Rozendaal, A., Rudnick, T.K., Heyn, R. 2017. Mesoproterozoic base metal sulphide deposits in the Namaqua sector of the Namaqua-Natal Metamorphic Province, South Africa: A review. South African Journal of Geology, 120, 1, 153-168p.

Rozendaal, A., Philander, C., Heyn, R. 2017. The coastal heavy mineral sand deposits of Africa. South African Journal of Geology, 120, 1, 133-152p.