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Geoscience Society Newsletter March 2021

Tony Wiggins Chair of Geoscience Society
· 1136 words, 6 minute read

Geoscience Society Newsletter

Welcome from Chairperson

I would like to welcome you to the first Newsletter of the Geoscience Society of the AusIMM for 2021. As with last year, your Society plans an active program focusing on the core areas of the electronic dissemination of technical information to members and Education (encompassing school engagement initiatives through to ongoing professional development). If your Branch is planning an event that may have interest to the broader AusIMM geoscience community, please reach out as we may be able to help.

New Committee Members

Following elections last year, I would like to announce that Clare Firth, Daniel Goldstein and Andy Wilde have joined the Committee for the term 2021-2023.

Clare is working as a Technical Specialist with BHP in Queensland, with prior experience in coal exploration. Daniel Goldstein is a Geotechnical Engineer with Rio Tinto in Western Australia. He has experience across open cut, underground mining and exploration, and is pursuing a Masters of Mining Engineering (Mine Geomechanics) at UNSW. Andy Wilde has considerable experience in exploration geoscience with major multinational and junior companies across a wide spectrum of commodities. He is Chief Geologist at listed explorer Deep Yellow.

I would like to sincerely thank retiring Committee members Michael Cunningham and Rowena Duckworth for their contributions to the Society.

Look out for next networking event

Following from last year’s successful virtual coffee program, we are looking to expand the offering into 2021 where we connect individuals from across the community in a virtual meeting format. It is a fantastic opportunity to build your network.

To register, you will need to complete a short survey from which the GeoSoc committee will use to match up participants. We will share contact details between the matched pair and then it is up to the individuals to reach out and connect.

 Please keep an eye out for the Virtual Coffee Program registration in coming weeks!

Webinar Program

On the 24th February the Geoscience society hosted Dr. Jessica Stromberg of the CSIRO to present “Hyperspectral Mineral across the Resource Value Chain”. The webinar highlighted the central importance of mineralogy.

The technique shows considerable promise in its potential to cover large regions efficiently and align the data into regional alteration trends for mineral exploration purposes. The method can also be applied to hand-samples and drill core.


The Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) is currently working on a draft national geotourism strategy covering many aspects of including the development and function of geosites, geotrails and geoparks. The AusIMM Geoscience committee is in communication with Angus Robinson FAusIMM, Coordinator of the National Geotourism Strategy at the Australian Geoscience Council and Mr Reza of the Indonesian Association of Professional Geologists [IAGI] to assist where we can.

For background reading please see:

 AusIMM Congress Submission

Despite COV19- related shutdowns, the AusIMM held an online Congress on 8 December. The Congress is a key mechanism for professional interest groups of the AusIMM to deliver proposals for wider consideration and action by the wider AusIMM membership. As with the core focus activities of the Committee this year, we limited the submission to a small number of agenda items but took the opportunity to elaborate each with specific action points.

Your Geoscience Committee made the following submission to AusIMM Congress 2020:

The Licence to Operate

Recognition of professional standing of anthropologists as a necessary core skill of the industry. Opening of membership to this profession and others engaged in engagement with First Nations people who coexist in areas of natural resources development.


  • Invite organisations and member groups to our institute;
  • Implement event and training opportunities tailored to the needs of these members; and
  • Promote this core skill and learning opportunities to wider membership.


Coordinated national program of secondary education engagement with appropriate multi-year resourcing and engagement across cities and non-city locations.


  • Await the outcomes of the Geoscience Society funding program for 2020, reviewing results of selected programs and initiatives; and
  • Garner support from national bodies for national multi-year funding of secondary education engagement.

Technical Content Capture

Establish sunset clause for all events allowing all presentation material to be available on AusIMM platform after a specific time period. This can be text or recorded materials.


  • Set (the sunset clause) as a default setting; and
  • Ensure all branches have appropriate technologies to record technical presentations for wider learning.


The adoption of the “License to Operate” proposal was in part, a response to addressing community expectations of the industry following the well-publicised destruction of a heritage site last year. It is also designed as a way to promote a broader strategy to embed better practices as a core professional skill of mining activities. There is a considerable body of professionals currently working in the areas of heritage management and community engagement who could add substantial value through their contribution as AusIMM members.

Education has remained a core consideration of the Society for some time, with a track –record of funding in-school initiatives as well as professional development and training courses. Previous newsletters have described detrimental changes in the tertiary geoscience learning ecosystem.  This proposal recognises that several school geoscience education initiatives are currently being funded by the Society, with a formal review expected later this year. Pending a successful outcome of the review, the Society would like to elevate the program in terms of both scale (with industry-wide development) and funding (multi-year scope and commitments). This is in recognition of the important need of school-based student engagement across science and the importance of early engagement for the extractive industries.

Following on from the successful development of online technical content (in part accelerated by COV-19), the Society would like establish clear protocols regarding the availability of materials (from conferences and webinars) for wider member consumption.

Outcomes and Post Congress Output

 The Chair and Vice Chair of the Geoscience society committee attended congress, and subsequently engaged in lively discussion with the Committee members in the December meeting. Some of the policy points that the Committee discussed included:

  • Geoscience society, like other Communities of Interest (COI’s), should broaden their scope to incorporate “Social license to operate/ geotechnical science / women in mining” and such
  • To improve 2-way communication between AMT & COI.
  • Continue with webinars, though this space is becoming competitive, and speakers are limited with time etc. One option is to work through the branches / overseas to source more speakers – and to reach out to member to see what they want from webinars.
  • To conduct a survey of Geoscience Society members regarding society needs
  • The newsletter, publications and other means of communication to be developed further.

AusIMM’s management team has committed to follow-up on the Geoscience Society submission during 2021 in their efforts to increase and improve deliverables to all AusIMM members. These initiatives will reported in periodic Geoscience Society newsletters.  

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