Prof Nic

Nic Beukes is Research Professor of Geology and Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resource Analysis (CIMERA) at the University of Johannesburg. He holds an MSc from the University of the Free State and a PhD from the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU, now known as the University of Johannesburg (UJ)). He worked two years for the Geological Survey of South Africa (now the Council for Geoscience) in Pretoria before joining RAU as a lecturer where he has risen through the academic ranks and was appointed full professor in 1986, acted as Chair of the Geology Department from 1998 to 2002, and was leader of the Paleoproterozoic Mineralization Research Group (PPM) from 1997 – 2013.

He is essentially a field geologist, specializing in sedimentology and stratigraphy, with emphasis on understanding the origin of iron and manganese ore deposits and the nature of surface environments on early earth, which includes the history of atmospheric oxygen and climatic change in the middle Archean to early Paleoproterozoic. He has worked extensively on iron and manganese formations all over the world, the genetic and sequence stratigraphy of siliciclastic strata of the Witwatersrand and Pongola basins, depofacies in early Precambrian carbonate platform successions, early Precambrian laterite profiles and paleosols, detrital zircon age provenance of the Cape-Karoo succession, and the nature of post-Gondwana land surfaces and associated soil profiles.

Apart from having been rated as an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation since 2001, he is recipient of the Jubilee Medal (twice for best publication in the South African Journal of Geology), Draper Medal (the highest award from the Geological Society of South Africa for scientific contributions in geology), UJ Alumni Dignitas Award, UJ Vice-Chancellor’s Medal for Research Achievement, and the Centenary and Havenga Medals of the “Suid Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns”. He is also Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society of America and has been Visiting Research Professor/Fellow at several prominent universities and institutes in the USA, Australia, India, Brazil and Japan. He was Regional Vice-President Lecturer for 2006 for the Society of Economic Geologists and is the Alex du Toit Memorial Lecturer of the Geological Society of South Africa for 2014. He served on committees of several scientific societies, editorial boards of scientific journals and is currently Associate Editor Earth Sciences for the South African Journal of Science.

He has presented a very large number of talks on invitation or as plenary speaker at national and international meetings all over the world, authored/co-authored more than 160 refereed scientific articles, three books, over 250 conference abstracts and some100 confidential technical reports to industry.

Recent Publications


Chisonga, B C, Gutzmer, J, Beukes, N J and Huizenga, J M, 2012. Nature and origin of the protolith succession to the Paleoproterozoic Serra do Navio manganese deposit, Amapa Province, Brazil. Ore Geology Review, 47, 59-76.

Czaja, A D, Johnson, C M, Roden, E E, Beard, B L, Voegelin, A R, Nägler T F, Beukes, N J and Wille, M, 2012. Evidence for free oxygen in the Neoarchean ocean based on coupled iron-molybdenum isotope fractionation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 86, 118-137.

De Kock, M O, Beukes, N J and Armstrong, R A, 2012. New SHRIMP U-Pb zircon ages from the Hartswater Group, South Africa: Implications for correlations of the Neoarchean Ventersdorp Supergroup on the Kaapvaal craton and with the Fortescue Group on the Pilbara craton. Precambrian Research, 204-205, 66-74.

Gutzmer, J, Du Plooy, A P and Beukes, N J, 2012. Timing of supergene enrichment of low-grade sedimentary manganese ores in the Kalahari Manganese Field, South Africa. Ore Geology Reviews, 47, 136-153.

Guy, B M, Ono, S, Gutzmer, J, Kaufman, A J, Lin, Y, Fogel, M L and Beukes, N J, 2012. A multiple sulfur and organic carbon isotope record from non-conglomeratic sedimentary rocks of the Mesoarchean Witwatersrand Supergroup, South Africa. Precambrian Research, 216-219, 208-231.


Cairncross, B and Beukes, N.J. 2013. The Kalahari Manganese Field. Assore, Johannesburg, 384 pp.

Crowe, SA, Dossing, LN, Beukes, NJ, Bau, M, Kruger, SJ, Frei, R and Canfield, DF. 2013. Atmospheric oxygenation three billion years ago. Nature, 501, 535-538.

Johnson, CM, Ludois, JM, Beard, BL, Beukes, NJ and Heimann, A. 2013. Iron Formation carbonates: Paleoceanographic proxy or recorder of microbial diagenesis? Geology, 41, 1147-1150.

Petroff, AP, Beukes, NJ, Rothman, DH and Bosak, T. In Press. Biofilm growth and fossil form. Physical Review X, 3, 041012-1 to 041012-14.

Rajesh, HM, Chisonga, B, Shindo, K, Beukes, NJ and Armstrong, R. 2013. Petrographic, geochemical and SHRIMP U-Pb titanite age characterization of the Thabazimbi mafic sills: Extended time frame and a unifying petrogenetic model for the Bushveld Large Igneous Province. Precambrian Research, 230, 79-102.

Smith, AJB, Beukes, NJ 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.

Zogo, J-CB, Beukes, NJ and Gutzmer, J. 2013. Beneficiation of low-grade iron ore from the Manganore Iron Formation through gravity concentration. Proceedings, Physical Beneficiation 2013. Conference, The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Johannesburg.


Guy, BM, Ono, S, Gutzmer, J, Lin, Y and Beukes, NJ. 2014. Sulfur sources of sedimentary “buckshot” pyrite in auriferous conglomerates of the Mesoarchean Witwatersrand and Ventersdorp Supergroups, Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa. Mineralium Deposita, 49, 751-775

Kunzmann, M, Gutzmer, J, Beukes, NJ and Halverson, GP. In Press. Depositional environment and lithostratigraphy of the Paleoproterozoic Mooidraai Formation, Kalahari Manganese Field, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology, December 2014.

Planavsky, NJ, Asael, D, Hofmann, A, Reinhard, CT, Lalonde, SV, Knudsen, A, Wang, X, Ossa Ossa, F, Pecoits, E, Smith, AJB, Beukes, NJ, Bekker, A, Johnson, TM, Konhauser, KO, Lyons, TW and Rouxel, OJ. 2014. Evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis half a billion years before the Great Oxidation Event. Nature Geoscience, 7, 283-286.