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Geoscience Society Newsletter - July 2021

Tony Wiggins Chair of Geoscience Society

Welcome from Chairperson

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I would like to welcome you to the third Newsletter of the Geoscience Society of the AusIMM for 2021. Your Committee maintains its focus on building on the value proposition for those AusIMM members with a geoscience background through expanding the range of technical and other materials accessible through electronic means, and education.

This edition covers recent events that have been hosted by the Society and the broader AusIMM, touching on materials that may be of interest.

Tony Wiggins

Geoscience Society Webinars

The Committee has been busy in supporting the low cost/no cost dissemination of technical materials to members as part of a broader digital transformation of the Institute. The following presentations were held since the last newsletter or are on the delivery calendar.

Write well and Prosper – Words and punctuation, sentence structure, paragraphs, heads and subheads matter!

On 23 June the Society hosted a webinar featuring Jane Werniuk titled “Write well and Prosper – Words and punctuation, sentence structure, paragraphs, heads and subheads matter!” Clear and accurate communication is necessary to the successful governance of mining and exploration companies. This presentation demonstrated the importance of clear, transparent technical writing that is crisp and understandable to an audience that includes the average investor and stakeholder. The talk touched on practical aspects of good technical writing noting successful outcomes are the result of a team, with input and review by staff from head office and work sites. Each person should be able to edit (improve the readability of) their own and each other's language. The presentation was offered in conjunction with WOMEESA and iWIM.

Understanding magmatic fractionation processes using multielement geochemistry

On 28 June the Society hosted renowned exploration geochemist Scott Halley, following up an earlier talk that was cancelled owing to a power outage in Hobart. The topic touched on some significant insights from deep exploration experience. It is now commonplace for mining and exploration companies to analyse drill core and/or chips using a 4 acid digest ICP-MS method. In addition to plotting the commodity metals, companies should also use this data as an aid to improving the identification of rock types, alteration mineralogy and magmatic processes. There are a few simple plots from the immobile trace elements in the ICP-MS suite that are reliable indicators of fractionation processes and “magmatic fertility” in different geological environments. Examples were presented from porphyry copper (East Lachlan), Archean gold (Yilgarn), and mid crustal melts (Tasmanian tin granites).

Aeromagnetic interpretation of the Tanami Region and northwest Aileron Province

Tegan Blaike from the CSIRO hosted a webinar on 7 July, covering some fascinating insights from the Proterozoic. Her research focusses on integrating geophysical and geological data for mapping under cover, and structural and tectonic analysis. Her recent work has focused extensively on Proterozoic basin systems in northern Australia, and she is currently working on a range of regional scale interpretation and modelling projects in collaboration with the state geological surveys. The webinar is co-hosted with WOMEESA.

Does subduction have a birthday?

On 14 July we will host a webinar with Peter Cawood, an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at Monash University. His research is concerned with the evolution of the continental crust and the insights this provides into Earth processes and resources. Plate tectonics, involving a globally linked system of lateral motion of rigid surface plates, is a characteristic feature of our planet, but estimates of how long it has been the modus operandi of lithospheric formation and interactions range from the Hadean to the Neoproterozoic. This talk will review sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic proxies along with paleomagnetic data to infer both the development of rigid lithospheric plates and their independent relative motion, and conclude that significant changes in Earth behaviour occurred in the mid- to late Archean, between 3.2 Ga and 2.5 Ga. These changes in the behaviour and character of the lithosphere are consistent with a gestational transition from a non-plate tectonic mode, arguably with localized subduction, to the onset of sustained plate tectonics.

Redefining the search space for giant ‘McArthur-type’ sediment-hosted Zn-Pb deposits

Mark Pearce will outline insights relating to the formation of giant ‘McArthur-type’ sediment-hosted Zn-Pb deposits on 30 July. He currently leads the Ore Body Geoscience Research Group within CSIRO Mineral Resources, a team of 22 geoscientists, physicists, engineers and data scientists focused on developing a better understanding of ore deposits to aid exploration. This seminar highlights the findings of one of the recent CSIRO projects in the Carpentaria Zinc Belt (McArthur River/HYC) that utilized some ground-breaking new microanalytical technology, and for the first time mapped out the trace element deportment on drill core-scale samples at micron-scale resolution.

By combining new microanalyses with deposit-wide textural analyses, nano-scale focussed analyses, basin-scale sequence stratigraphy, geophysical modelling and thermodynamic modelling of ore fluids, we present a robust model for subsurface carbonate replacement-driven ore formation. The audience will not only hear about how this refined model for ore formation and its key features (e.g. geochemical anomalies) can help redefine the exploration space for massive Zn-Pb deposits, but also how this systematic approach in poorly understood systems can unravel complex mineral systems in general.

Geo-tourism Moving Forward

Angus Robinson, Coordinator, National Geotourism Strategy, Australian Geoscience Council contributed to the recent University of Queensland and AusIMM Life of Mine Conference 2021 with the power point presentation “Geotourism - a Transformational Approach to Conserving Heritage and Generating Post-Mining Economies for Communities”. This presentation outlines the employment, economic, social and cultural benefits of geotourism. Angus emphasizes goal No. 5, including “improving the public perception of mining professionals and the industries in which they work”, and gives some examples in areas to develop and promote tourist mines, such as the Blinman Mine of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. Angus seeks collaboration amongst member professional societies and organizations researching mining industry heritage. Contact angus@leisuresolutions.com.au

To get a sense of the scope of activity centred on geotourism around Australia, see the following directory: Leisure Solutions - Geotourism industry groups.

Virtual Coffee Morning (April-May 2021)

In 2020 the AusIMM Geoscience Society introduced a regular virtual coffee networking event to connect likeminded professionals. The initiative has grown significantly in its second instalment which is currently underway.

The Geoscience Society announces the event through email, in Geoscience newsletters, and on the AusIMM website. Participants are matched based on areas of interest, time zones and criteria around availability to enable them to connect and schedule their virtual coffee at a suitable time. It is then up to the participants to initiate contact in their own way, and in their own time.

Ian Wolff recently joined this virtual coffee morning initiative, and was matched up with another exploration focussed geologist living in a far-off city. He exchanged emails, then moved across onto the more convenient WhatsApp platform, to settle on a mutually convenient date and time.

"Like any other first meeting, we introduced ourselves in terms of professional background and present life styles. The conversation flowed easily to cover outlook on the Institute, topical industry issues, but it was the sharing of work experiences and ambitions to advance the profession that saw us growing more comfortable with one another as new friends. A geologist often has a narrow circle of friends, reflecting a busy site orientated work schedule, with limited off-time at home that tends to focus on family. Developing new friends outside of this work/family group can be difficult, wherein rostered weeks on and off often don’t match with urban vibrant life-styles. Site based work can lead to lowliness that is not readily recognized. In my youth I developed a number of pen-friends that allowed me to keep a wide range of friends of very different character. The AusIMM Geoscience Society virtual coffee morning is opening a much-welcomed door to sharing of experiences and possibly making new friends."

EEF Scholarship

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Ahmad Tabish – University of Newcastle: awarded EEF Premium Scholarship (post graduate)

“I am keen to help make Australia an R&D hub for nanotechnology.

Following the completion of undergraduate degree studies in Chemical Engineering, Ahmad Tabish received his MS in Chemical Engineering from The Petroleum Institute Research Center of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and subsequently worked on the synthesis of self-healing anti corrosion coatings based on carbon nanomaterials for the oil and gas industry. After receiving his MS, Ahmad worked at the Khalifa University's Research Center in the United Arab Emirates from 2017-2019 on projects related to metal recovery from wastes. All of these experiences combined to inspire an interest in further study and research. Consequently, Ahmad has enrolled with The Global Innovation Center for Advanced Nanomaterials at the University of Newcastle and through his PhD is working on finding novel pathways for synthesis of Mesoporous Silica based nanomaterials for carbon capture and for manufacturing various fine chemicals via catalysis.

Secondary School Geoscience Education [SSGE]

In response to the 2019 AusIMM Resource Education Collaboration Summit, in April the AusIMM launched its Working Group on the Resources Industry Future Workforce in partnership with “key representatives from both industry and academia to address the supply and demand of skills in the sector”. Details can be found in the media release here.

The working group seeks to “collect and collate data on the demand and supply of graduates required to support the minerals industry and to build an accurate industry forecast of the workforce pipeline.”

This will be a document that can form the basis of advocacy and education within our industry as well as to government. Ideally this initial project of work would take place over the next four to six months by the working group as we build the framework for an overarching collaborative industry body going forward.

The AusIMM Geoscience Society Committee (GSC) has taken the initiative in researching the issue of declining numbers of geoscience graduates for more than a year. The society has focussed on a core issue that earth sciences are generally not being taught at secondary schools. This is a contributing factor in the lack of new entrances to geoscience / mining / metallurgy at universities, resulting in a decline in the number of geoscience departments at universities. The GSC has held discussions with the AusIMM Management Team (AMT), the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC), Teacher Earth Science Education Program (TESEP), Geoscience Pathways Projects (GPP) and AusEarthEd. These discussions include a review & comments on ACARA’s (Federal Government- Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) proposed changes to Earth & Environmental Science (EES) curriculum for Primary & Secondary Schools. The GSC is preparing a briefing paper, including the recommendation for ongoing support of TESEP and other activities to support the promotion of geoscience within the secondary education system.

Article on peer review 

The Nature journal of 30 November 2020 contained an interesting article from Rebekah Baglini and Christine Parsons in their Nature career column article entitled ‘If you can’t be kind in peer review, be neutral’. “As a computational linguist (R.B.) and a psychologist (C.P.), one of us has experience in dissecting the specifics of language, and the other has a professional grounding when it comes to human emotion. Together, we hope to show how even small tweaks to language can make words wound or express disdain, rather than offer constructive feedback”.

Core Skills for Geoscientists 2021 – Introduction to Core Logging, Data Quality and Interpretation – 5 Day Course

19-23 July 2021, The Exploration Data Centre, Queensland Government, Zillmere Brisbane

Course Co-ordinator: Dale Sims, Director Dale Sims Consulting

Cost for students (members of AusIMM or AIG) discounted from $220 to $110

The Geoscience Society is delighted that the popular Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG)/AusIMM introductory core logging course has resumed after a COVID-19 interruption. Attendance to this introductory course is open to geoscience students, graduates and recently employed industry professionals.

With the current upswing in exploration and mining activity, now is a good time to gain exposure to practical data collection and analysis skills which will enhance your job readiness or effectiveness.

The aim of this introductory program is to develop your understanding of data collection and data management, sampling, assay QAQC, data validation and interpretation processes through a practical core logging exercise. Building confidence in data collection and analysis is a key objective of the program. The course is not suitable for people already experienced in core logging.

Evolution Mining are strong supporters of this initiative and are allowing use of their drill core at the Geological Survey of Queensland’s Exploration Data Centre at Zillmere in Brisbane. Attendees will log a series of holes across two cross sections of the Mt Rawdon gold deposit investigating the main lithologies, relative timing of units, mineralisation, alteration, and geotechnical character. This data will then be merged with the mine database and used to produce several cross-section interpretations on paper through the deposit. A confidentiality agreement will be signed by all attendees to access this real-world dataset.

In addition, it is planned to include a visit to an assay lab, undertake a pXRF demonstration, inspect the Qld government’s Hylogger and data as well as other scanner based core logging approaches being developed for geology applications. District geology discussions will be held with GSQ staff.

Attendees will receive a certificate of completion from this course as an AusIMM/AIG endorsed program. Numbers will be limited to ensure close contact between attendees and course leaders.

Find out more and register now

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JORC review update

The members of the AusIMM were invited to submit proposals to the 2020 JORC review committee. The review process was delayed largely by the general disruption related to COVID-19, and was rescheduled to be completed in 2021. The JORC Committee has been working on a high-level summary issues paper. It is understood that this has taken longer than expected given the amount of information submitted that needed to be synthesised into key areas. Efforts are being made to accelerate the work to finalise the paper. A project manager has been appointed to support the review process and will be commencing mid-June.

The JORC Code is produced by the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee ('the JORC Committee'). The JORC Committee comprises representatives of each of the three parent bodies: The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AusIMM), and the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG); as well as representatives of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FinSIA) and the accounting profession, and an observer from Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC). Find out more at: http://www.jorc.org/

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