Barbara Palumbo-Roe

Dr Barbara Palumbo-Roe

Process geochemist
BGS Keyworth

Barbara Palumbo-Roe’s Biography

  • 2007 – ongoing : Senior Process Geochemist, British Geological Survey, Keyworth
  • 2007 –2010 : Team Leader Abandoned Mine and Contaminated Land Team, British Geological Survey
  • 2000 –2007 : Process Geochemist, British Geological Survey, Keyworth
  • 1999 –2000 : Honorary Researcher, Department of Geology & Petroleum, University of Aberdeen
  • 1997 –1998 : EU Marie Curie Post-doctoral position, The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen
  • 1993 –1996 : PhD in Geochemistry, University of Palermo, Italy
  • 1987 –1992 : Degree in Geology (1st with distinction), Department of Mineralogy and Petrography, University of Palermo, Italy

Research interests

  • Biogeochemical cycling of trace elements and inorganic emerging contaminants and their impact on ecosystems and human health, through field observations, experimental studies and geochemical modelling
  • The biogeochemistry of the Hyporheic Zone
  • Bioleaching of Rare Earth Elements from low grade ore deposits
  • Mine waste and mine water: characterisation and environmental impact

Current projects and collaborations

  • 2019 – ongoing “Evaluation of artisanal gold mining practice and its impact on water resources in Migori County, Kenya”, collaboration research agreement between the Department of Geology, University of Nairobi and ODA BGS Research platform 1: integrated resource management in eastern Africa
  • 2018 – 2021 Coal Authority Contract [GA/18F/040]: “Diffuse pollution from historic metal mine activity in the UK – Groundwater and Spoil heap Inputs”. BGS, Newcastle University, CEH Research Consortium – Responsibility: lead for BGS
  • 2018 – 2021 H2020-WIDESPREAD-05-2017-Twinning: “GeoTwinn -Strengthening research in the Croatian Geological Survey Geoscience-Twinning to develop state-of-the-art subsurface modelling capability and scientific impact”. Role: WP4 “Geothermal energy” lead for BGS
  • 2017 – 2019 EA Commissioned Research [GA/17F/008] : Study of the hyporheic zone in areas of groundwater-surface water connectivity in the Skerne Catchment. Role: Project Manager
  • 2018 – ENVISION Summer student supervision: Characterising sulphur pools in a river catchment: evidence from hydrochemistry and sulphur isotope measurements.
  • 2018 – ongoing IAPETUS Current PhD Supervision: Quantifying the importance of different sources of diffuse pollution in mining-impacted rivers
  • 2015 – 2019 : NERC Grant NE/M01116X/1 “SoS RARE: Sustainable Development of Nd and HREE deposits”, Co-I and WP4 Task Leader: Processing of Ion Adsorption Deposits (SoSRare)
  • 2013 – 2014 : MM-FREE – NERC Catalyst Grant NE/L002361/1- Security of Supply of Mineral Resources Catalyst Grant “Mineral-Microbe interaction role in concentration and Fractionation of Rare Earth Elements”
  • 2013 – 2013 : TELLUS Border Project “Determination of stream sediment background concentrations in mineralised catchments impacted by mining using Tellus data from Northern Ireland” (DETI/GSNI)(TELUS BORDER)
  • 2012 – 2017 : IMAGES – EPSRC “Integrated, Market-fit and Affordable Grid-scale Energy Storage” Consortium project (EPSRC Grant EP/K002228/1)(IMAGES )
  • 2011 – 2012 : DEFRA project Normal Background Concentrations of contaminants in soils
  • 2010 – 2015 : Arsenic Bioaccessibility in south-west England
  • 2010 – 2013 : EU FP7 project EO-MINERS: Earth observation for monitoring and observing environmental and societal impacts of mineral resources exploration and exploitation
  • 2015 – 2017 : Impact of groundwater/surface water interaction on contaminant transport: application to a chromium contaminated site in Glasgow. (see also Clyde Urban Super Project -CUSP)
  • 2015 – ongoing : Determination of stream sediment background concentrations in south-west England
  • Chromium speciation, transport and fate in Clyde catchment soils, sediments and waters: understanding Cr mobility in urban-industrial environments. PhD Supervisor, University of Edinburgh, 2014-2018.
  • Geochemical modelling of environmental processes in Rare Earth element mining. PhD Supervisor, SOS RARE, University of Leeds, UIT-Germany, 2015-2018.
  • Turning down the gas: what is the potential for microbial mitigation of methane leakage from soils? PhD Co-Supervisor, STARS-University of Nottingham, 2017-2020

NERC Open Research Archive — Dr Barbara Palumbo-Roe

Published outputs

  • Barnett, M J, Palumbo-Roe, B, Deady, E A, and Gregory, S P. 2020. Comparison of Three Approaches for Bioleaching of Rare Earth Elements from Bauxite. Minerals, 10 (8), 649.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Banks, V J, and Brauns, B. 2019. Characterising the hyporheic zones in the Skerne Catchment. British Geological Survey Commissioned Report, CR/19/004. 173 pp
  • Blackwell, N, Perkins, W, Palumbo-Roe, B, Bearcock, J, Lloyd, J, R, and Edwards, A. 2019. Seasonal blooms of neutrophilic Betaproteobacterial Fe(II) oxidizers and Chlorobi in iron-rich coal mine drainage sediments. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 95 (10), fiz140.
  • Barnett, M J, Palumbo-Roe, B, and Gregory, S P. 2018. Comparison of heterotrophic bioleaching and ammonium sulfate ion exchange leaching of Rare Earth Elements from a Madagascan Ion-Adsorption Clay. Minerals, 8 (6), 236.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Banks, V, J, Bonsor, H C, Hamilton, E M, and Watts, M J. 2017. Limitations on the role of the hyporheic zone in chromium natural attenuation in a contaminated urban stream. Applied Geochemistry, 83. 108-120. 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2017.02.011
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Ander, L, Cave, M, Johnson, C, and Cooper, M. 2016. Stream sediment background concentrations in mineralised catchments in Northern Ireland: assessment of ‘pressures’ on water bodies in fulfilment of Water Framework Directive objectives. In: Young, M E., (ed.) Unearthed: impacts of the Tellus surveys of the north of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland, Royal Irish Academy, 293-302, 10pp.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Wragg, J, and Cave, M. 2015. Linking selective chemical extraction of iron oxyhydroxides to arsenic bioaccessibility in soil. Environmental Pollution, 207. 256-265. 10.1016/j.envpol.2015.09.026
  • Rawlins, B G, Palumbo-Roe, B, Gooddy, D C, Worrall, F, and Smith, H. 2014. A model of potential carbon dioxide efflux from surface water across England and Wales using headwater stream survey data and landscape predictors. Biogeosciences, 11 (7). 1911-1925.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, and Dearden, R. 2013. The hyporheic zone composition of a mining-impacted stream: evidence by multilevel sampling and DGT measurements. Applied Geochemistry, 33. 330-345.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, and West, J M. 2013. Evaluation of the potential impacts of an influx of CO2 on subsurface microbial populations using a thermodynamic approach. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 22pp. (OR/13/014)
  • Ander, E L, Johnson, C C, Cave, M R, Palumbo-Roe, B, Nathanail, C P, and Lark, R M. 2013. Methodology for the determination of normal background concentrations of contaminants in English soil. Science of The Total Environment, 454-455. 604-618.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Wragg, J, Cave, M R, and Wagner, D. 2013. Effect of weathering product assemblages on Pb bioaccessibility in mine waste: implications for risk management. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 20 (11). 7699-7710.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B.; Wragg, J., and Banks, V.J. 2012. Lead mobilisation in the hyporheic zone and river bank sediments of a contaminated stream: contribution to diffuse pollution. Journal of Soils and Sediments, article in press. pp. 1-8 –DOI: 10.1007/s11368-012-0552-7
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Banks, V, Chenery, S, and Weiss, D. 2010. Tracing sources and fate of zinc in a mining-impacted river catchment: insights from flow measurements, synoptic sampling, and zinc isotopes.International Mine Water Association. Wolkersdorfer, C, and Freund, A. Sidney, NS, CBU Press 383–387.
  • Banks, V J, and Palumbo-Roe, B. 2010. Synoptic monitoring as an approach to discriminating between point and diffuse source contributions to zinc loads in mining impacted catchments. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, Vol. 12, 1684–1698.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Klinck, B, Banks, V and Quigley, S. 2008. Prediction of the long-term performance of abandoned lead zinc mine tailings in a Welsh catchment. Journal of Geochemical Exploration. Vol. 100, 169–181.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Klinck, B A, and Cave, M R. 2007. Arsenic speciation and mobility in mine wastes from a copper- arsenic mine in Devon, UK: A SEM, XAS, sequential chemical extraction study. 441–472 in Arsenic in Soil and Groundwater Environment. Bhattacharya, Mukherjee, Bundschuh, Zevenhoven and Loeppert (Editors). Trace Metals and Other Contaminants in the Environment, Amsterdam, Elsevier.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, and Klinck, B A. 2007. Bioaccessibility of Arsenic in Mine Waste Contaminated Soils: a Case Study from an Abandoned Arsenic Mine in SW England (UK). Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, Vol. 42, 1251–1261.
  • Klinck, B A, Palumbo, B, Cave, M, and Wragg, J. 2005. Arsenic dispersal and bioaccessibility in mine contaminated soils: a case study from an abandoned arsenic mine in Devon, UK. British Geological Survey Research Report, RR/04/03.

Commissioned reports

  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Linley, K, Cameron, D, and Mankelow, J. 2014. Inventory of closed mine waste facilities in Northern Ireland. Phase 2, assessment. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 58pp. (CR/14/031N)
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, Bearcock, J, and Banks, V J. 2012. Hydrogeochemical observations to improve site characterisation and remediation of Frongoch Mine, Wales. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 38pp.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, and Banks, V J. 2011. Conceptual site model of Makmal gold mine, Kyrgyz Republic. Final report, October 2011. British Geological Survey, 45pp.
  • Palumbo-Roe, B, and Colman, T. 2010. The nature of waste associated with closed mines in England and Wales.


  • Experimental geochemistry
  • Geochemical surveys and environmental monitoring
  • Geochemical modelling
  • Mineralogy

Professional associations

  • Member of the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland


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