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Prof Bertus Smith

Prof Bertus Smith
Department of Geology
Associate Professor​

Contact Details
C1 Lab 413
+27 (0)11 559 4709



Bertus Smith is currently specializing in Economic Geology with a focus on sedimentary iron and manganese deposits. Other research interests include Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic sedimentary successions and Geometallurgy, which is the quantification of the variability of ore deposits in terms of processing behaviour (blasting, crushing, milling, liberation and recovery). He is also affiliated with the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resource Analysis (CIMERA) as well as the PPM Research Group, both based at the Department of Geology at the University of Johannesburg. He completed his PhD in Geology at UJ in 2014, which focused on Geometallurgy of the Merensky Reef at Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine. He completed his MSc in 2007 on the banded iron formations and iron-rich mudstones of the Witwatersrand and Pongola Supergroups at UJ, for which he received the Chancellors Medal for most meritorious MSc thesis in the Faculty of Science, as well as the Corstorphine Medal and Johan Handley Prize from the Geological Society of South Africa. He also received the award for best student speaker at the Society for Economic Geology Student Geocongress for a presentation on his MSc work in 2008.

Research Interests

Economic Geology; Precambrian banded iron formations; Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic sedimentary geology; Geometallurgy; process mineralogy.

Teaching Responsibilities

Economic Geology
Applied Mineralogy

Published papers

Smith, A.J.B. (2018). The Iron Formations of Southern Africa. In: Siegesmund, S., Basei, M.A.S., Oyhantçabal, P. and Oriolo, S. (eds), Geology of Southwest Gondwana, Springer, Cham, pp. 469-491.

Albut, G., Babechuk, M.G., Kleinhanns, I.C., Benger, M., Beukes, N.J., Steinhilber, B., Smith, A.J.B., Kruger, S.J. and Schoenberg, R. (2018). Modern rather than Mesoarchaean oxidative weathering responsible for the heavy stable Cr isotopic signatures of the 2.95 Ga old Ijzermijn iron formation (South Africa). Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 228, 157-189.

Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J., Gutzmer, J., Czaja, A.D., Johnson, C.M. and Nhleko, N. (2017). Oncoidal granular iron formation in the Mesoarchaean Pongola Supergroup, southern Africa: Textural and geochemical evidence for biological activity during iron deposition. Geobiology, 15, 731-749.

Smith, A.J.B., Henry, G. and Frost-Killian, S. (2016). A review of the Birimian Supergroup- and Tarkwaian Group-hosted gold deposits of Ghana. Episodes, 39, 177-197.

Smith, A.J.B. and Beukes, N.J. (2016). Palaeoproterozoic banded iron formation-hosted high-grade hematite iron ore deposits of the Transvaal Supergroup, South Africa. Episodes, 39, 269-284.

Smith, A.J.B. (2015). The life and times of banded iron formations. Geology, 43, 1111-1112.

Viehmann, S., Bau, M., Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J., Dantas, E.L. and Bühn, B. (2015). The reliability of ~2.9 Ga old Witwatersrand banded iron formation (South Africa) as archives for Mesoarchean seawater: Evidence from REE and Nd isotope systematics. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 111, 322-334.

Planavsky, N.J., Asael, D., Hofmann, A., Reinhard, C.T., Lalonde, S.V., Knudsen, A., Wang, X., Ossa Ossa, F., Pecoits, E., Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J., Bekker, A., Johnson, T.M., Konhauser, K.O., Lyons, T.W. and Rouxel, O.J. (2014). Evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis half a billion years before the Great Oxidation Event. Nature Geoscience, 7, 283-286.

Smith, A.J.B., Viljoen, K.S., Schouwstra, R., Roberts, J., Schalkwyk, C. and Gutzmer, J. (2013). Geological variations in the Merensky Reef at Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine and its influence on flotation performance. Minerals Engineering, 52, 155-168.

Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J. and Gutzmer, J. (2013). The Composition and Depositional Environments of Mesoarchean Iron Formations of the West Rand Group of the Witwatersrand Supergroup, South Africa. Economic Geology, 108, 111-134.

Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J. and Gutzmer, J. (2010). Lithostratigraphic correlation of the iron-rich sedimentary rocks in the Archean Witwatersrand-Mozaan succession: Implications for early depositional environments on Earth. South African journal for Science and Technology, 29(3), 161-163.

Smith, A.J.B., Gutzmer, J, Beukes, N J, Reinke, C and Bau, M, 2008.  Rare Earth Elements (REE) in Banded Iron Formations – Link Between Geochemistry and Mineralogy, in Ninth International Congress for Applied Mineralogy Proceedings, pp 651-658 (Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Carlton).


Published abstracts

Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J. and Gutzmer (2013). Geomicrobiological activity in the Mesoarchean Witwatersrand-Mozaan Succession: Evidence from iron formations and shales. Mineralogical Magazine, 77(5), 2224.

Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J., Gutzmer, J., Johnson, C.M. and Czaja, A.D. (2012). Iron isotope fractionation in stromatolitic oncoidal iron formation, Mesoarchean Witwatersrand-Mozaan Basin, South Africa. Mineralogical Magazine, 76(6), 2384.

Smith, A.J.B., Viljoen, K.S., Schouwstra, R., Roberts, J., Schalkwyk, C. and Gutzmer, J. (2010). The geometallurgical characterization of different Merensky Reef facies in the western limb of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa. Acta Mineralogica-Petrographica Abstracts Series, 6, 278.

Smith, A.J.B., Beukes, N.J., Gutzmer, J. & Cochrane, J.M.  2010: Evidence for dissimilatory manganese reduction and availability of free molecular oxygen during deposition of Mesoarchean Witwatersrand-Mozaan strata.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.  74(12): A973.

Postal Address

Department of Geology
University of Johannesburg
PO Box 524
Auckland Park 2006
Kingsway & University (APK campus)
South Africa