New AIG Membership System

New AIG Membership System

The introduction of the new AIG membership system is getting closer.  

Members need to provide an email address which will be used as your username to access the new system.  At present, we don’t have email addresses on fuel for the following members.  If your name appears in the list below please contact AIG’s Executive Officer, Lynn Vigar, immediately.

If you are in contact with any of the members on the list, please pass this message on to them!

Abbott, Jonathon
Adams, Karen
Ajayi, Olywatosin
Allardyce, Wendy
Bolton, Cynthja
Brown, Barry
Comber, Gavin
Coupe, Kieran
Dahl, Kirsten
Dupuy, Kimberley
Edwards, Robert
Ekins, Samuel
From, Bianca
Fyfe, Rebecca
Gibbons, Sarah
Glassford, Donald
Gordon, John
Hammond, Ben
Harms, John
Heyworth, Zarah
Hirschmann, Claire
Howe, Brendan
Hutson, Philip
Johnston, Sandi
Kemp, Barttlomiej
Kriege, Ralf
Lloyd, Timothy
Lu, Jainchu
Lui, Samuel
Mananis, Joanne
Mander, Joanna
Marshall, Sarah
Martyn, Gillian
McAuley, William
McLennan, Iain
Mengel, Douglas
Milan, Luke
Musson, Alex
Omari, Dena
Paton, Belinda
Pauwels, Gerard
Pearson, Stephen
Penno, Hamish
Perera, Dhammika
Phillips, Laura
Pike, Christian
Rankin, Shari
Reeves, Zeffron
Richardson, Robert
Roberts, Michelle
Ross, Steven
Rowett, Caitlin
Ruddick, Ryan
Sampson, Peter
Schafer, David
Singh, Vashti
Smith, Peter
Snell, Rebecca
Sossi, Paolo
Stephens, Darren
Sutterby, Melanie
Tassell, Hugh
Tedesco, Adam
Telenko, Brianna
Thomas, Charmaine
Tilley, Jason
Turvey, Cassandra
Urbisinov, Serikjan
Van Der Wacht, Melanie
Verco, Rupert
Walters, Vanessa
Wheeler, Andrew
Whittaker, Joanne

2014 Student Bursary Applications Open

This year the Australian Institute of Geoscientists is offering several student bursaries valued between $1000 and $4000 and we are inviting applications from Postgraduate, Honours and Third Year geoscience students.

In addition to AIG bursaries offered in all geoscience fields, the AIG also offers a number of sponsored bursaries to students working in specific fields of geoscience or geological terrains, or enrolled at specific universities.  These sponsored bursaries include:

  • Macquarie Arc Conference-GSNSW – AIG bursary: offered to geoscience students working on mapping-based honours projects in the Lachlan Orogen, in or around the Macquarie Arc.
  • Terra Search – AIG bursary: offered to geoscience students working on research projects in Queensland.
  • SMEDG-AIG Bursaries: offered to NSW geoscience students working on projects related to mineral exploration.
  • Jonathan Bell-Alexander Research – AIG bursary: offered to geoscience students working on cross-disciplinary projects related to mineral economics and finance.
  • Davis – AIG geoscience bursaries: offered to geoscience students enrolled at JCU or UWA to assist with costs associated with field work.
  • DMITRE – AIG Geoscience Student Bursary: offered to geoscience students at South Australian Universities.

The closing date for applications is the 1st August 2014.

Geoscientist Competencies

Geoscientists Canada, the peak body which brings together the individual, provincial bodies responsible for the progressional registration of geoscientists and engineers on geoscience issues is considering defining the core competencies required of geoscientists for registration.  Geoscientists must be registered in Canada in order to practice as professionals where the exercise of independent judgement is central to their work.  Unlike Australia, registration is required for many professions in Canada where it is seen as a means of ensuring professionals have appropriate levels of education and knowledge of the principles of ethical practice, demonstrated by completing an examination.  What is regarded by many as the textbook for engineering and examination candidates, Canadian Professional Engineering and Geoscience Practice and Ethics by Gordon C. Andrews was reviewed recently on this site and provides an informative description of how the Canadian registration process evolved.

The majority of regulated professions in Canada have developed, or are developing, competency profiles.  There are perceived to be a number of benefits, specifically with geoscience:

  • It describes the work that geoscientists can undertake and the services they provide to society on a daily basis;
  • It explains the scope of the work of geoscientists to employers, clients, other professions, government and the general public;
  • It provides enhanced clarity regarding what licensure represents— for applicants, referees, validators, assessors, Fairness Commissioners and others involved in admission to geoscience as a regulated profession;
  • It gives prospective applicants a clearer vision of their likelihood of becoming licensed;
  • It provides a firm foundation from which to later develop competency-based assessment tools for potential use in admissions into the profession;
  • It can be used to create stronger and more direct links between education and practice; and,
  • It sets a transparent and objective benchmark for admissions and potentially for other purposes – such as: continuing competency, practice guidance and disciplinary matters.

Geoscientists across Canada were asked to complete a survey to provide feedback on the draft profile which has been under development over the past 18 months and the competency profile is expected to be completed in Q3 2014.

Is this something that would benefit geoscientists in Australia?  In Australia, there is no requirement for professional registration in order to practice as a geoscientist.  The voluntary registration schemes operated by AIG (RPGeo Programme) and AusIMM are designed to provide assurance that registered geoscientists have demonstrated impeccable ethical standards and are committed to undertaking continued professional development.  Would specification of competencies required of professionally registered geoscientists, or even all geoscientists admitted to membership of AIG, help to improve the public perception and standing of our profession?

Have your say by posting a comment here or on the AIG Linkedin group page.  The consultation draft of the Competency Profile for Canadian geoscientists is available for review  here.  Canadian Geoscience Competency Profile, Consultation Draft, Apr 30 2014

Andrew Waltho


Deutsche Bank Withdraws from Abbot Point Coal Terminal Expansion

Deutsche Bank has withdrawn from any involvement in the Abbott Point coal terminal expansion, citing concerns regarding its social licence to operate according to an ABC report.

Reuters reported last week that the financial institution pulled out of the controversial expansion project on the grounds that UNESCO and the Australian government have come to different conclusions regarding the reef’s safety. According to the news outlet, Deutsche Bank Co-chief Executive Juergen Fitschen said, “[a]s we have seen, there is currently no consensus between UNESCO and the Australian government regarding the expansion of Abbot Point in the vicinity of the Great Barrier Reef. Our policy requires such a consensus at the least … [w]e therefore would not consider applications for the financing of an expansion any further.”

The Australian government approved a plan to facilitate the coal port’s construction by dumping 3 million cubic meters of dredged material near the reef in January that has catalyzed vocal opposition by a number of groups.

Meeting considers formal declaration of the Anthropocene

The May 27, 2014 issue of EOS, published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) reported on a news briefing held at the European Geoscience Union’s Assembly on 29 April where the issue of whether human impacts on Earth are significant enough to formally declare a new geological time period.   Human influence on Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land, and biology has grown to the extent that some people now think that the planet may have entered a new geological period, known as the Anthropocene.

Jan Zalasiewicz, one of the scientists at the briefing, explained that the term Anthropocene refers to a hypothesis that people have changed Earth’s surface systems sufficiently to affect the geology on a scale comparable with some geologic epochs or periods in the past. The term has been popularized by atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen and others. Zalasiewicz is a senior lecturer in paleobiology at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and the convener of the Working Group on the Anthropocene of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which includes geologists as well as some archaeologists and others who are not geologists.

Since 2009 the working group has been looking into the potential for recommending to the commission the formalization of the Anthropocene as part of the geological timescale.  The concerns of the working group include whether the Anthropocene is geologically justified; if so, whether it should be characterized as an age, epoch, period, or eon; when it should begin; and even whether the term is useful.

Follow this link to the complete article.

SAMOG 2014 Exposure Draft

An exposure draft of SAMOG 2014, the latest revision of the South African Code for the Reporting of Oil and Gas Resources has been released for public consultation.  

The revised version of SAMOG has been drafted by the South African Oil and Gas Committee (SAMOG) Working Group.  The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has been involved in the development of the South African Code for reporting of Oil and Gas, which is based on the Canadian National Instrument 51-101 in respect of general disclosures and the Petroleum Resources Management System (as developed by the Petroleum Engineers, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers and the World Petroleum Council) in respect of the classification of resources and reserves.

The JSE proposes to adopt the South African Code for reporting of Oil and Gas, and amend Section 12 of the JSE Listings Requirements (the “Requirements”) to include a separate section for oil and gas companies.

The amendments to the Requirements have been marked-up for review. The South African Code for reporting of Oil and Gas and the amendments will be available on the JSE’s website: (Route: Companies & Issuer Regulation/Issuer Regulation).

We invite comments on the amendments by close of business, Monday 23 June 2014, and comments can be sent directly to

Follow this link to view the consultation draft: SAMOG Code May 2014

Intellectual Property in the Mining Industry

An article by Robynne Sanders in the May 2014 issue of “Explore”, global law firm DLA Piper’s mining industry newsletter, provides an interesting discussion of  measures being taken by companies to protect their intellectual property.  

For the past decade the mining boom has enabled those companies lucky enough to work in the industry to grow and prosper. With the resources sector tightening the focus has shifted to protecting that growth to ensure the continued profitability of mining companies and suppliers alike.

One mechanism by which companies are looking to protect their position is intellectual property rights, most notably patents and confidential information (know how).  Both are effective tools to ensure exclusive rights to technology and processes. For the owner, they enjoy market advantage as the sole provider of certain products or services or improved profitability as the result of their exclusive use of the best processes. This is clearly a huge advantage.

For these reasons many resources companies and suppliers consider intellectual property the new frontier of the mining sector. While it works for the owner, for those around them intellectual property can be, at best, a significant inconvenience, and at worst a serious threat to their business.

To find out more, download the May 2014 edition of Explore here.

New AIG JORC Committee Representatives

Three members are joining the JORC committee as AIG representatives:

  • Graham Jeffress (AIG representative on the JORC Executive)
  • Jacqui Coombes
  • Stuart Masters

Chris Cairns is continuing in his role as an AIG representative on the JORC Committee.

Jon Bell will accept the role as AIG’s ex-officio representative on the committee, with responsibilities of ensuring the AIG Council is kept informed regarding developments affecting the JORC Code and educational activities to be undertaken by the committee.

The AIG Council, on behalf of members, expresses its sincere appreciation to Gerry Fahey, Chris Roberts and Rob Behets for their work representing the Institute, at a very busy time for the committee due to the revision of the JORC Code in 2012.

Exploration Development Incentive

The government’s proposed Exploration Development Incentive was confirmed in the 2014 Budget.

The Federal government proposes to provide $100 million over the next three years ($25, $35, $40 million) to further stimulate investor and exploration company activity by enabling investors to deduct the expense of minerals and energy exploration against their taxable income.

The Exploration Development Incentive was described in a discussion paper released by Treasury in March 2014 that provided an opportunity for interested groups to provide feedback to government regarding the proposal, where AIG supported the proposal made by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) who have strongly advocated the introduction of the incentive for a number of years.  The proposal was also supported by a number of exploration and mining industry groups including SACOME and the Minerals Council of Australia.

The Challenges of Methane Hydrates

Abundant but difficult to exploit, are gas hydrates the next major energy source?

Darren Spalding and Laura Fox, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, London

The energy of the future could lie buried deep beneath the world’s oceans and the Arctic permafrost. Methane hydrates, also known as “flammable ice,” are vast reservoirs of natural gas trapped in ice-like crystals and hold the potential to alter trade flows and reshape the geopolitics of energy.

As the name suggests, methane hydrates consist of a methane molecule surrounded by a cage of interlocking water molecules. Hydrates store large amounts of gas in a relatively small area; one cubic meter of hydrate can hold around 160 cubic meters of methane and 0.8 cubic meters of water. Methane hydrates are similar to ice in their composition and occur naturally in subsurface deposits in freezing temperature and high pressure conditions.

The sea floor is thus an ideal location for their formation: the deep seabed is uniformly cold, with temperatures from zero to four degrees Celsius, and below a water depth of about 350 meters, the pressure is sufficient to stabilize the hydrates. When melted or exposed to pressures and temperatures outside those where the ice is stable, the solid crystalline lattice turns into liquid water, and the enclosed methane molecules are released as gas.

Until recently, methane hydrates had never been tapped as a source of energy to meet increasing global demands. It has generally been considered that other sources of fossil fuels, notably conventional oil and gas (and more recently shale oil and gas), have been easier and cheaper to access. But in March 2013, Japan became the first country to successfully flow gas from methane hydrate deposits under the Pacific Ocean.

Read more in the May 7 2014 issue of Oil and Gas Financial Journal