Alan Riles

B.Met, M.EconGeol, Grad.Dip Prof Management

Geology and Earth Sciences

Alan combines a life-long passion for travel, mountains and geology with his 40+ years experience as a mining professional to bring a unique perspective on earth sciences and how we better understand and develop the natural resources of which we are stewards.

As a geometallurgist with a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy and a masters in geology, his work covers the alchemy of how we convert the minerals and metals well-hidden in the rocks to the actual products we use in everyday life.


He was born in north-east England, and through his work in the international mining industry has lived in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, New Caledonia and Spain, and has been recently living in Peru. He has worked in every continent except Antarctica, and has been fortunate enough to have worked in such diverse countries as Russia, China, Congo, Mauritania and most of the South American countries. He has a strong appreciation of not just the technical aspects of earth sciences but also the human/cultural aspects of developing our global resources.

He has mastered Spanish, resuscitated his schoolboy French and also achieved some understanding of Brazilian Portuguese.


His lectures can be both destination appropriate and thematic, covering such things as why geology is important, how mining can be sustainable and climate change; as well as more destination specific aspects like the South American Andes and the volcanoes and glaciers of the Pacific Rim.


Alan has delivered lectures and presented papers at international conferences and is a seasoned cruiser, along with his wife Kerrie-Anne.



His lectures cover many themes including geology, mining, gold-mining ancient and modern, volcanoes of the world, glaciology and climate change, some of which are listed below.

Geology Matters –

Its crucial importance in understanding our global resources in both time and space


The UK – a geology that changed the world (series of 3)

New thoughts on why a small island has had such an influence on the rest of the world


Mining – its life cycle and place in sustainable economies

From the finding and mining, through the bashing, mashing and hashing of metallurgy to the minding of the environment


Sub-sea mining in the Pacific

Smokers – black and white

Just a dream?


Environmental rehabilitation

Myths and Realities

Gold mining and salmon fishing!

Sand mining, some Australian examples


The Golden Fleece – fact or fiction?

A brief history of gold mining

Gold mining in Spain 2000 years ago


China mining, a study in contrasts

Old school,

and New school


Australian gold mining

The early gold rushes

Modern large scale gold mining


Iceland – A Land of Fire and Ice (series of 2)

A country being torn apart

Volcanic ash clouds – a new take on Icelandic noir!

Fire and Ice


Kamchatka Peninsula, Eastern Siberia

Volcanoes and gold, ICBM’s too!

Birds that winter in Australia


Volcanoes of New Zealand and White Island

A geothermal hot spot

Growth of a new island


Volcanoes of Hawaii

A hot spot on the move

Lavas - deadly but at least slow


Volcanoes of the Pacific North-West- past and present

Crater Lake, Oregon

Mt St Helens - explosive mass destruction


Alaskan / Yukon Gold Mining

Gold rush days

Modern gold mining


South American Andes – volcanoes, mines and alpacas (series of 2)

Plate tectonics – what are they all about?

Volcanoes of the Andes

Hidden copper

Mysteries of the alti-plano


New Zealand – geology writ large

Volcanoes, earthquakes and glaciers

Vertical weetbix!


Glaciers of South America

The Chilean Lake District

The Beagle Channel


Climate Change

Natural or man-made?

Long hot summers

What can we do?


Bristlecone Pine

The oldest living thing

Turns archaeological dating on its head

 Alan Riles - Introductory Video