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 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: Two-week mine/geology of South Africa tour


Current research grants

  • 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

  • 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., Frith, M.G., Bernasek, S., Tylizszak, T., Roychoudhury, A.N. and Myneni, S.C., 2018. Geochemistry of Al and Fe in freshwater and coastal water colloids from the west coast of Southern Africa. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 241, 56-68.  
  • 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., Hauser, E.J., Mishra, B., Martinez, G.A., Bowie, A.R., Tyliszczak, T., Roychoudhury, A.N. and Myneni, S.C.B., 2014. Ubiquitous presence of Fe(II) in aquatic colloids and its association with organic carbon, Environmental Science & Technology Letters 1 (10), 387 – 392.
  • 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, 11 Honours-level students and one M.Sc. 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:

  • Christina Comuso (M.Sc.): Detailed fluid inclusion and isotope study of auriferous quartz veins in the Sheba-Fairview mining complex.
  • Stephan Dunn (M.Sc.): 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.
  • Joshua Chisambi (Ph.D.): Gold mineralisation in the Manondo-Choma district, central Malawi.



  • 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 for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits: Member number 3969-17​