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Geoscience Society Newsletter - September 2021

Tony Wiggins Chair of Geoscience Society
· 2,450 words
13 minute read

Welcome from the Chairperson


I would like to welcome members to the September edition of the Newsletter of the Geoscience Society of the Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy.

We have been particularly busy in coordinating the online delivery of technical material as part of the “digital transformation” of the Institute. If you have missed any of the presentations, please visit the Digital LIbrary as this material is provided at nil cost to members. The talks have covered technical areas through to skills, such as communication in investment markets settings.

The Committee is delighted to have supported Dale Sims' core logging course in Brisbane, aided by a cast of able volunteers and use of the core library of the Geological Survey of Queensland’s Exploration Data Centre. We are looking to run this program again next year and are seeking expressions of interest to offer shorter duration courses in other locations. Please reach out if this is something that is of interest.

Your society has maintained progress in the pre-tertiary educational area. We are seeking to build the foundations of a national strategy with multi-year funding. We are of the belief that without pre-Tertiary sector interest in our industry (as a valid long-term career path) there will simply never be enough students to support a vibrant tertiary capability covering core mining professional skills.

Geoscience Society Webinars

Sediment hosted Zn Pb deposits in the Northern Territory

On the 30th July 2021, we hosted Mark Pearce of the CSIRO presenting “Redefining the search space for giant McArthur type sediment hosted Zn-Pb deposits”. The webinar focussed on the application of high-definition chemical imaging using the Maia XRF Mapper on drill core. This is part of a wider multidisciplinary study. The role of chemistry and carbonate replacement were emphasised, supporting exploration efforts directed at carbonate beds below black shale units.

Several recent research papers linked to this work can be found at:


Communicating with Investors - Lessons from the Biotechnology Industry


On 25 August the Society hosted by John Robertson with a thought-provoking look at the communication engagement strategies directed at professional investors.  He notes that “Mining industry executives must communicate complex technical information to investors as they seek critical funding for the industry’s activities. The biotechnology industry shares many of the same risk characteristics of the miners and competes for the same pool of funds. As a result, investors are making comparisons between the communication abilities displayed by the two industries in making judgements about where to invest”.

John is an experienced institutional investment manager, equity market researcher and investor relations professional, so this insight could be valuable for those “on the road” seeking investment market capital or convincing shareholders not to sell.

Where are we in the cycle?

We are hosting John Roberston for a second presentation on 20 September, this time focussed on the macroeconomic environment that underpins many of the robust pricing outcomes seen across commodity and equity markets.

This webinar will review the current cyclical position of the metals mining industry, tracking the path of the cycle over the past two years and its likely course through the early 2020s, comparing recent cyclical developments to cycles over the past 60 years.

As well as addressing where we are in the cycle, the presentation will highlight the importance of having a disciplined approach to cyclical analysis.  It will outline a methodology that seeks to cut through the daily news flow and proliferation of opinions in favour of a consistent approach which allows executives to understand more clearly the evolution of their cyclical circumstances.

Webinar participants will gain some historical perspective on the current cyclical positioning of the mining industry, the key drivers of the outlook and, most importantly, an appreciation of how they might track future cyclical developments with a consistently applied analytical framework.

Murray Rayner on Argyle

We are delighted to have Principal Geologist – Resource Evaluation, Rio Tinto Copper, Murray Rayner present on the Argyle Diamond Mine on 28 September. More details will follow closer to the event.

Bob Watchorn Geo-archaeology, Joint South West WA event

On 28 October, the Society in conjunction with the South West WA Branch is co-hosting Bob Watchorn on a presentation covering the relationship between sites of early mining and broader scale fundamental structural features. It is no surprise that the loci of many early settlements can be correlated with sites of early mining. Should traces of ancient civilisation be used as an exploration tool?

Please keep in mind that your society is interested in supporting similar activities across the broader branch network of the institute.

Core Skills Course runs in Brisbane

The Society is delighted that 18 early-career professionals and students attended the Core Logging Course in Brisbane. The program, a combined effort of the AusIMM and the Australian Institute of Geoscientists, navigated the various demands of health restrictions and travel bans. Below we see Malcolm Bridges from AMC instructing students.

This course aims to introduce student and early career geoscientists to the issues and processes of data collection, validation and interpretation around a real-world exercise based on logging around 2k of core from Evolution Mining’s Mount Rawdon goldmine. As the course progresses participants working in pairs define a logging strategy and lithology library based on first principles observation, develop interpretations on two cross sections for the holes they log, investigate geotechnical and assay laboratory processes and data QAQC, review pXRF and core scanning technologies then ultimately meld their own data into the wider mine database and are exposed to geostatistical analysis and 3D modelling of the global asset. It is a busy week with a personal highlight the mid-week GeoPub visit / guess the rock competition and follow up course dinner in the CBD!

Thanks go to the wonderful Queensland Government Exploration Data Centre team at Zillmere where the core is stored and displayed, course helpers Rowena Duckworth, Allen Shaw and Laidlaw Puha, geotech logging guru Malcolm Bridges, pXRF demonstrators Joseph Tang and Dominic Brown from GSQ, geostats agent provocateur James Pocoe, QUT thought leader Pat Hayman, remote support volcanologist Carol Simpson, lunchtime case study/career speakers Bill Perkins, Rachael Ciesiolka, Ann Ledwidge, Ian Butler and Peter Caristo. Brisbane GeoPub diehards who bring along the most interesting rocks (Simon, Larry, Tony, et al) are also appreciated!

Again, a special note of appreciation to Dale Sims for setting up, administering and ultimately delivering (in a Covid constrained environment) a high-quality educational event. It should be noted that this  is the fourth year that the program has operated.

The Society is interested in coordinating future programs across different states and is investigating a student sponsorship program to facilitate attendance. Please reach out to be involved.


Presentation of 2020 Distinguished Speaker Award

In August, the 2020 Distinguished Speaker Award of the Geoscience Society was awarded to Emeritus Professor David Groves. The Emeritus Professor set a precedent last year, managing the challenges of Covid 19 by the delivery of his lecture series via webinar. Thank you, David.


Emeritus Professor David Groves (R) and Geoscience Committee Member and co-ordinator of the webinar Program, Dr Bert DeWaele (L).

Nominations for AusIMM 2022 Awards

Nominations for AusIMM Awards close on 30 September.

They seek to recognise the achievements, professional excellence and leadership of many of our talented members working in the mining industry. The Institute welcomes nominations from all professionals regardless of discipline or background. You can find out more and nominate here.

Have your say on employment and remuneration

AusIMM is inviting all members to complete the annual Professional Employment and Remuneration Survey.

The information gathered plays a key role in determining priorities on advocacy, events and communication, helping AusIMM drive relevant outcomes for members.

Take the survey now

Digital Library

The digital transformation of the institute continues. The AusIMM Digital Library is available for AusIMM members with access to expert webinars, articles and over 16,500 articles.


In July, the AusIMM and the Australian Geoscience Council Inc (AGC) met with other parties to develop a National Geo-tourism strategy. Key goals include numbers 5 “To develop geo-tourism in regional mining communities, with potential geo-heritage and cultural heritage sites”, 6 “Strengthen Australia’s international geoscience standing through geo-tourism excellence”, and goal 7 “Develop and enhance geoscience interpretation and communication skills for those involved in the presentation of geo-sites.”

Project opportunities in the offering include geo-tourism underpinning post mining operations, geo-heritage regional heritage, geo-trails and application of augmented reality technologies. AusIMM branches are encouraged to get involved. A couple of links to get some idea about the direction that Geo-tourism is starting out with:

National Rock Garden

The Geoscience society committee working group is engaged and supports the National Rock Garden (NRG) in Canberra as we see it as  an important way to engage with school-age students and the wider public.

As announced in the NRG Newsletter No. 21 in June, the garden will be moving to a site within the National Arboretum. The rock garden will establish a complementary tourist and educational destination which will display the richness and diversity of Australian geology with substantial iconic rock specimens from each state and territory. The National Arboretum in Canberra attracts around 700,000 visitors annually, including more than 30,000 school students in facilitated programs. It is a place for “conservation, education, science research, recreation, reconciliation and tourism”. The NRG will work closely with Canberra-based landscape architects, to develop an exciting landscape design for Forest 13, with a view to moving the first rocks to a permanent site before Christmas.


JORC Code Review process started

In June, a Summary Paper of Key Issues and Work Plan was released, based on responses from the online survey and other discussions held regarding the 2012 JORC Code review. Findings to date have shown that there is strong support to review and update the Competent Person framework to enable verification of competency. In addition, a large response with diverse views were provided related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and how these could be addressed in the JORC Code if appropriate.

 AusIMM and AIG will be forming a Joint Taskforce to undertake analysis, consultation, and review of the requirements for Competent Persons under the Code. The task force shall be actively engaging and consulting with stakeholders during the coming months and will be forming working groups to tackle key areas which require further robust discussion and analysis.

To support the JORC Code review, JORC is forming several Working Groups to focus on identified key areas of the Code which require targeted discussion and analysis. [ JORC : Code Update]

JORC is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from stakeholders to join the following Working Groups:

  1. Competent Person (CP)
  2. Reasonable Prospects (RPEEE)
  3. Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)
  4. Reporting of Risks
  5. Reconciliation performance
  6. Guidance notes
  7. Use of JORC Code for non-reporting purposes
  8. Relationship to ASX listing and/or to other codes
  9. Other Issues.

Draft UNFC Supplemental Specifications for Minerals Projects

The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) issued a draft document (May 2021) “Draft United Nations Framework Classification for Resources Supplemental Specifications for Minerals Projects” and called for public comment (deadline 14 June 2021). Consistent reporting of mineral resources will aid policy formulation, national and corporate resources management and financial reporting aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda). See the report at  Draft UNFC Supplemental Specifications for Minerals Projects.

The main focus is to adapt the present classification system to further emphasize the environment, innovative technologies and advanced resource management tools.  The UNFC have developed their own diagram (see below) - though it is unclear if this actually clarifies or works in an opposite way!


AusIMM Social & Environment Society policy submission on WA legislative reforms

Many may not be aware that the AusIMM Social & Environment Society has preparing a submission to the WA Government on proposed legislative reforms to streamline mining approvals and regulation. The submission is available here. Amendments to streamline the mine approvals processes and regulations have been advanced, with key changes to Low impact notifications, Mining development and closure proposals, and Approvals statements. This is an important initiative by an AusIMM Society.

Mutual Recognition Amendment Bill 2021 (AMR)

The interstate recognition of reciprocal equivalent occupations changed on 1 July 2021 with the passing of the Mutual Recognition Amendment Bill 2021 (AMR), through the Commonwealth Senate. Put simply, if you are registered in an occupational / professional scheme in your home state (following the introduction of AMR), it is not necessary to register in another state – where there is in that state a registration framework for the same occupation / profession as is being performed in your home state. A legal challenge to this bill was successful on the grounds of equivalency of registration from outside Queensland to that inside Queensland. It would seem for this interstate recognition bill to work, then each state needs to develop an equivalent system of registration. For further reading see; BPEQ_Enews_July2021.pdf

Early notice of Annual Tasmanian Geoscience Forum

The AusIMM Tasmania Branch with co-hosts GSA, AIG and Minerals Resources Tasmania, and sponsors Venture Minerals and Ron Gregory Prospecting, are calling for speakers for the annual Geoscience Forum. Now in its 11th year, the purpose of this forum is to gather geoscientists in one pleasant place (Tullah, West Coast Tasmania) to share their progress in exploration, mining and research, particularly the geology of Tasmania. An optional field trip follows. Please reach out to the Tasmania Branch here: 



Education Endowment Fund (EEF)

Each year the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) Board of Trustees provides scholarships for Australian undergraduate and postgraduate students, providing them with financial assistance and exemplary professional development opportunities, supporting them to complete their studies and embark on a successful career in the mining industry

Scholarship inclusions:

  • Significant financial support of up to $11,000 annually for the duration of studies;
  • Career building mentoring with an industry professional valued at $5,000;
  • Opportunity to participate in a one-week intensive field trip valued at $4,000 to a mineral-rich region of Australia; and
  • Support to develop career enhancing personal and professional skills.

Membership to AusIMM is a requirement of application. AusIMM is currently offering free student membership to students applying for an EEF Scholarship. Simply use code Student2021 when applying for your membership. More information can be found here : Education Endowment Fund


EEF Scholarship recipient


 Michael Short

Michael Short is currently completing is honours project as part of a Bachelor of Mining Engineering at the University of Adelaide. Investigating the nature of material flow through an ore using numerical hybrid modelling, he is expanding his interests to renewable energy technologies, working with a start-up company to study VIPER technology with an aim to unlock Long Duration Energy Storage. VIPER stands for Vertical Integrated Potential Energy Reservoir.

image5xoa.pngHappy Birthday to Baron Loránd Ágoston Eötvö

From Nordic Geoscience; Baron Loránd Ágoston Eötvös - scholar, professor, and the Father of Geophysical Prospecting” - born July 27th 1848. Eötvös came from an old Hungarian noble family. From 1886 until his death in 1919, Loránd Eötvös researched and taught at the University of Budapest, which in 1950 was renamed after him. He studied the effects on gravity observations when moving on a rotating planet, giving us the Eötvös Correction, now used routinely in marine and airborne gravimetry. Eötvös also studied the gradients of the Earth's gravitational field, inventing the gravity gradiometer torsion balance instrument that was used in the discovery of giant oil deposits. A mineral (Lorándite), a lunar crater, an asteroid, a peak in the Dolomites, and the unit for gravity gradient (1E = 10-9 s-2) are named after Eötvös.

Prof. Hugh Davies and a tsunami


Professor Hugh Davies FAusIMM has made an exceptional contribution to the geology of Papua New Guinea, both in research and in teaching at the University of Papua New Guinea (where he has been the professor of Geology since 1989). He has written two books in the past three years (a geology text specific to PNG and a book on the Aitape tsunami) and is currently working on an overview of the geology of PNG.

From Indonesia


Han van Gorsel and launching of “Pioneers and Milestones of Indonesian Geology”.

J.T. (Han) van Gorsel, Geologist- Biostratigrapher, Houston, Texas, United States has spent 2 years preparing “Pioneers and Milestones of Indonesian Geology” that will begin marketing at the end of 2021. It is 1480 pages long, with over 2000 illustrations, in 4 volumes. It contains the life stories and accomplishments of 235+ pioneering geoscientists in the Indonesian region between ~1820 and 1960.

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