Why I became an AusIMM Chartered Professional geologist
I have been a member of the AusIMM since 2010, though I have been working as a geologist in Africa since 1995.
Becoming registered with a professional organisation is increasingly becoming a requirement, especially if you are a consultant (or might wish to become one).
In accordance with the New York Stock Exchange listing requirements, companies are guided by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and are legally required to apply the directives outlined in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to the process of Reserve reporting. This is ‘an act to protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws, and for other purposes’ (GovInfo, 2022).
When working on the Sadiola Mine site for AngloGoldAshanti and Iamgold, I was required to sign off on the SOX requirements for the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), and since some of the other staff I knew on site were registered with AusIMM, and to register was a simple process to be completed online, I submitted my forms and became a member.
Since 2013 I have been both a Fellow and a Chartered Professional geologist.
Direction of travel
To be a Qualified Person (QP) or Competent Person (not to be confused with CP/Chartered Professional), in some stock exchanges such as the TSX, being a member is simply no longer sufficient. It is a requirement for a number of reasons that you be either a Fellow or Chartered Professional.
These reasons include:
- In some professional organisations you can become a member with less than 5 years’ experience;
- However, in order to be considered as a QP or Competent Person, it is typically required to have more than 5 years’ experience in the geological setting and metal/element in question;
- Therefore, being a Fellow or Chartered Professional demonstrates that you have met the 5 years’ test, though the necessary experience within the particular area would still need to be verified. Typically you would have more than 5 years’ experience to qualify as a Fellow.
- Should a professional geologist/mining engineer/metallurgist be accused of unethical behaviour, then a disciplinary process can be instigated by the aggrieved party through AusIMM, against a Fellow, Chartered Professional or Member.
- Being a Fellow or Chartered Professional does give comfort to prospective clients/employers that you have ‘standing’ within the organisation to which you belong, having been adjudged to be at that respective level by your peers.
- Typically to be a Fellow or Chartered Professional you would quite commonly have between 15 to 25 years’ experience, with the scars, grey hairs and experience to add value in your field.
Pros of Chartered Professional status
Being a Chartered Professional gives you status within your field, and recognition that you are at a level that your opinion is based on 'hard yards' in your field.
This professional status does (or should) command a premium in remuneration.
Accreditation as a Chartered Professional indicates that you are a professional who can demonstrate an up-to-date (current) high level of knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications, and that you are bound by a strict code of professional conduct to all stakeholders within the minerals space such as clients, regulators, employers, investors, and the general public.
As a Chartered Professional you are required to maintain this status by committing to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) within your field. You will need to demonstrate your CPD status (at a rolling average of at least 50 hours per year) which can be maintained by a number of, or combination of activities, such as:
- publishing papers;
- making presentations;
- attending conferences; and
- mentoring junior staff, etc.
In addition to the recognition, there are additional advantages, such as use of an internationally recognised postnominals – eg FAusIMM CP(Geo) – greater influence within your organisation, etc.
The potential for legislated requirements
The Queensland authorities in Australia require that professional engineers working in Queensland are registered to demonstrate your competence.
Given this requirement, it is not unexpected that other states and Australia as a whole could copy this requirement, and in fact Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia already have schemes or plans in the pipeline, and once this is in place for engineers, then geologists and other disciplines could be required to make the same move.
Considerations before becoming Chartered
There are costs to maintain your Chartered Professional status. Costs of becoming a CP are currently AUD$550.
The application form to become a Chartered Professional is not onerous, but is detailed; and the AusIMM do rigorously check all claims made in the application form, such as positions held and activities/roles undertaken. Therefore, you should ensure that you are (as judged by your peers) at the level to become Chartered.
If your referees/sponsors do not support you, then you unfortunately know you have been judged to not yet be at the required level, and refusal often offends!
There is a minimum level of experience and competency to become a Chartered Professional. This is something to be aspired to after being in the industry for a number of years and I would say isn’t a ‘post-nominal box to be ticked’ after 5 years in the industry. You will need to put some time in!
To support a CP or Fellow application, a minimum of one years’ personal knowledge of the applicant is required. Merely being a connection on LinkedIn is not adequate!
For those professionals who speak/read/write English as a second language, one major advantage (notwithstanding the detailed application form) is the ability to apply online.
Furthermore, whilst the option to interview every applicant for CP is at the Assessors recommendation, (which can be a daunting task) it is likely not required.
Good luck and welcome aboard!
GovInfo, 2022. ‘Public Law 107 - 204 - Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002’ [online]. Available from: https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/PLAW-107publ204/summary