AIG Mentoring Programs To Go Ahead

AIG Mentoring Programs To Go Ahead

Well … since our last Mentoring update, the world has changed a lot.  In line with government advice, most AIG events and indeed their hosting venues have been suspended or closed.

However, the AIG Mentoring Programs in 2020 will continue, albeit in a different format.  Over the past three years the AIG has established a successful Distance Mentoring Program with participants located in various parts of the world.  We are now rolling out a similar program for the State based programs but we also seek your input on how these programs may be tailored for you in the current situation of working from home/social distancing.
If you have ideas and suggestions please send your feedback to

Our concept is that within the State programs, the one to one mentoring programs will be retained however must be adapted to comply with the current restrictions on interpersonal contact.

Although we are likely to lose some or all of our face to face events this year as a result of the restrictions, we plan to replace these with a series of many to one and many to many career sessions where mentees can log into a webinar and ask questions of a single mentor or panel of mentors about particular career experiences and the technical specialty of those mentors. These sessions are proposed to be offered at the National level in order to diversify the session topics and access to experienced geo-professionals for all mentees.

Through these programs we hope that mentees and mentors continue to benefit from the AIG Mentoring process, while also providing opportunity to gain a broader perspective on the range of industries available to geoscientists.

The career sessions will augment our established webinars with Patrick McAndless which are already scheduled as follows:
Webinar 1 – “Discover Your Brand” Wednesday July 29, 12pm AEST
Webinar 2 – “Marketing Your Brand” Wednesday August 5, 12pm AEST

We have also reacted to the situation by making the following immediate changes to the AIG Mentoring Programs for 2020:

  • Registrations will be extended for an additional month to 30 April 2020
  • No fees will be charged for the 2020 programs and fees already paid will be refunded

Further changes to the format and structure of the programs will be advised in the coming weeks.
You can still Register Now at

In the meantime, please stay healthy, as wealthy as possible, and wise – by practicing self-quarantining and safe social interactions.

Mini : The Good & the Bad of the UNCOVER Project

UNCOVER was a cooperative project setup between academia and industry to combat the declining rate of mineral discoveries in Australia. One of the things to come out of it was NExUS, the National Undercover Exploration School we talked about in Episode 33.

But overall, UNCOVER has probably struggled to meet some of the main goals it set out to achieve

This MINI episode is a side chat we had with NExUS founder Richard Lilly that isn’t part of the main Episode 33.

Until next time…let’s keep exploring…


Exploration Radio Episode 33

Houston, we have a problem.

Well, we have two problems.

New discoveries are becoming increasingly rare – they are becoming technically more challenging.

And our practical skills as explorers are declining – what made us successful in the past is not what will likely make us successful in the future.

So what can we do about this? And what can Walt Disney teach us about solving these problems?

80 years ago, Walt Disney recognised a skills shortage in his staff at Disney Studios. Born out of this was a school that taught the essential skills to be an animator. The success of Disney since tells us that initiatives such as these cannot just change a student or a single business.  They can change a whole industry.

In this episode, we hear from Richard Lilly founder of NExUS – the National Undercover Exploration School in Australia. Richard recognised the same thing as Walt, an impending skills shortage in geoscientists needed for the future. Born out of this recognition was NExUS, where passionate undergraduates learn the practical aspects of mineral exploration.

Until next time, let’s keep exploring…

AIG is a proud sponsor of the Exploration Radio podcast

AIG’s COVID-19 Pandemic Response

AIG is critically concerned with the health of members and immediately complied with Australian federal and state government restrictions relating to public events and other gatherings of people engaged in AIG activities.

AIG’s state branches acted rapidly and responsibly to suspend all technical talks, seminars and conferences to help minimise the impact of the virus in our communities.

All face to face meetings of AIG committees have also been suspended and replaced with on-line and telephone conferencing.

Plans are being developed to continue delivery of benefits of membership, including professional development opportunities to members both within Australia and internationally.  An on-line webinar system is being implemented for delivery of technical talks, seminars and short courses to members.  The system will provide an environment in which participants will be able to interact with presenters and have access to presentation recordings following each event.  

Current plans are to use this system include:

  • broadcasting the AIG AGM in May, allowing participation of all members in the meeting;
  • presentation of technical talks, available to all members, both within Australia and internationally; and,
  • delivery of planned seminars and short courses on-line to registered attendees.

A monthly Q&A session is also proposed where interested members will be able to interact with AIG Councillors to provide suggestions on how AIG can better serve members and provide feedback on current activities.

Details of upcoming events using AIG’s webinar platform will be publicised through member emails and the AIG website events calendar very soon.

Delivery of the AIG mentoring programme for 2020 will continue.  The Mentoring Committee is meeting this week to agree on programme delivery details.  Details will be provided as soon as they are confirmed.

Development of a JORC Code public reporting course for members is almost complete.  The course comprises a series of modules that may be completed individually, according to participant needs, or as a complete course.  The course will be launched soon as an on-line webinar series. 

A special publication commemorating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Ok Tedi deposit will be launched soon.  The book provides first-hand accounts of working at Ok Tedi along with the geology and exploration of the deposit that will be of interest to a broad spectrum of members.

A major update of the AIG web site is nearing completion which will provide much improved access to content for members and enhanced information on AIG events and other activities.

AIG is continuing to work with ASEG and PESA to present the Third Australian Exploration Geoscience Conference (AEGC) in Brisbane in April 2021.  Conference planning will, of course, take account of how the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold and be responsive to the needs and concerns of members.

Work to establish special interest groups continues.  Geoscientific data management and GIS are the current focus.  Members interested in establishing a group covering other relevant, geoscientific fields should get in touch.

Professional standards are always a focus area for our Institute.  The JORC Committee has commenced the process of reviewing the JORC Code.  Details of this review and opportunities for stakeholder consultation will be provided as they come to hand.  AIG is also examining the need for accreditation of Tertiary geoscience courses offered by Australian universities to ensure that key competencies required for recognition as a professional geoscientist through AIG membership are adequately addressed by course curricula.

These are challenging times that will have broad impacts on Australian geoscience, many of which may not yet be apparent.  The AIG Council and Branch Committees remain focussed on our Institute’s purpose of representing our profession and delivering high quality, relevant professional development opportunities to members everywhere.  Don’t hesitate to contact your state branch, any Councillor or the AIG secretariat office in Sydney with any concerns or suggestions of how your Institute can better represent members.

Andrew Waltho
President, Australian Institute of Geoscientists


Calling all geology students and graduates!

Tertiary geology students and 2019 graduates can apply for a grant up to $6,600 to fund research, work experience, attendance at industry events or career building activities related to geology and exploration.

Application forms can be found on our website at The application period closes on 30 April 2020.

Australian geoscientist unemployment static in the final quarter of 2019

Nationally, unemployment amongst Australia’s professional geoscientists was little changed between the third and fourth quarters of 2019.

Unemployment and under-employment amongst professional geoscientists in Australia June 2009 – December 2019.
  • The unemployment rate was static, with a rate of 7.3% recorded nationally, compared with 7.4% in the third quarter.
  • Slight improvement was evident in the national under-employment rate which fell from 14.1% to 13.1% between the end of September and end of December.
  • Unemployment continues to follow a decreasing trend, although the rate of improvement is slowing.
  • Forty percent of self-employed geoscientists (contractors and consultants) reported that they were unable to achieve more than 25% of their desired workload, pointing to an effective unemployment rate of around 12.5%.
  • Almost 43% of unemployed respondents reported being either out of work for more than 12 months. Some 32% reported being out of work for more than two years.

Geoscientist unemployment fell in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, but increased in Western Australia. The largest fall was recorded in New South Wales where the rate fell from 7.9% in September to only 2.8% in this survey. Under-employment fell in Western Australia and New South Wales. Again, the improvement in New South Wales was substantial with the rate falling from 26.3% in September to 11% I n December.

Geoscientist unemployment and under-employment by state, December 2019

The survey received 395 responses, interpreted to represent one in twenty geoscientists in Australia.

Australian Institute of Geoscientists President, Andrew Waltho, cautiously welcomed the results. “Any improvement in employment opportunities for professional geoscientists in Australia is welcome news” Mr Waltho said.

“The unemployment rate amongst geoscientists in Australia remains on a downward trend”. “Employment prospects for self-employed geoscientists are volatile, but also improving gradually”. “Long term unemployment amongst geoscientists remains a major problem, with more than a third of those currently without work having been unemployed for more than two years” Mr Waltho said.

“The proportion of geoscience roles provided by small resources companies stresses the importance of measures to encourage sustained investment in Australia’s resource industries” Mr Waltho said. “AIG and it’s kindred societies invest considerable work to maintain an environment in which investors have access to reliable, professionally prepared information relating to resources industry”. “Enforceable codes of practice with which all professional geoscientists are compelled to comply, the JORC and VALMIN Codes, play a major role in this” Mr Waltho said.

“Australia’s professional institutes and societies continue to provide a wide range of accessible, professional development opportunities for members, enabling unemployed members to maintain their qualifications and professional networks to help ensure that they remain work ready” Mr Waltho said.

The sectors in which geoscientists work vary significantly between states. In looking at minerals exploration and mining, and energy exploration and production, comparison of the proportion of geoscientists employed in each of these fields highlights some fundamental differences.

Comparison of geoscientists working in mineral resources industry sectors in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria
Geoscientist employment in non-resources industry fields in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria

Nationally, 61% of geoscientists work in mineral exploration, 17% in metalliferous mining and almost 7% are employed in energy resource exploration, mining and production (coal, coal seam gas, natural gas and petroleum).

In Western Australia, mineral exploration and mining together employ 86% of geoscientists working in that state. In Victoria, this figure is almost 68% while in New South Wales, mineral exploration and mining provide 55% of geoscientist employment opportunities. Queensland is just as dependent on mining for geoscience employment opportunities as Western Australia and Victoria, but energy resource exploration and production provides a greater proportion of jobs than in any other state. Metalliferous exploration and mining provide 55% of geoscientist employment opportunities in Queensland, with energy resource exploration, mining and production contributing a further 25%.

Geoscience fields including environmental and engineering geology, and groundwater resource management are becoming increasingly important sources of employment in Australia’s more populous states, meeting the demands of land management and infrastructure development. Public sector employment is also growing in these states. The role of the resources sector in providing geoscience employment opportunities in Australia is very similar to the situation in Canada, but distinctly different to Europe and the USA where a greater proportion of geoscientists are employed in other, particularly environmental and engineering geology and water resource management.

The relative importance of different sources of geoscientist employment vary significantly between states.

Resources companies provide almost three quarters of the employment opportunities in Western Australia, almost half of the employment opportunities in Victoria, but just over a third of the opportunities in Queensland and just over a quarter of job opportunities in NSW and the ACT.

Junior companies are the largest source of resource industry employment and the sole source of resources industry employment in Victoria. Major resources companies are major employers nationally, but their activities have most impact on employment opportunities in Western Australia and Queensland. The contribution of mid-tier companies to geoscientist employment in resources industries exceeds that of major companies in Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales.

Consulting and contracting companies are significant sources of employment in all states. Relatively high proportions of geoscientists opt for self-employment in New South Wales and the ACT, and Victoria.

Andrew Waltho
President, Australian Institute of Geoscientists, Brisbane

AIG News 139 is available now!

Now all AIG Members and Non Members can enjoy our FREE AIG Newsletter in digital format, including all previous editions. Please click here to see our archive of AIG News.

The latest edition of AIG News, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists member newsletter is now available in full colour and digital format and best of all FREE for all readers!

NEW! View the latest AIG News in Click here to view Flipbook!

Or download the PDF below:
PDF For web: AIG News 139: Download as Single Pages PDF
PDF For web: AIG News 139: Download as Double Page Spread PDF
PDF For print: AIG News 139: Download as Single Pages PDF
PDF For print: AIG News 139: Download as Double Page Spread PDF

Inside this latest issue…

From Your President; Institute News; Membership Updates & RPGeo Applications; Education Report; Student Report: Petrological and Geochemical Aspects of the 60A Ni Sulphide Mineralization, Western Australia; AIG Mentoring Program launch for 2020; Pioneering WA Geoscience teacher praised by her peers for key ‘Australian of the Year’ category nomination; AIG Careers in Geoscience web pages launched; Australian geoscientist unemployment static in the final quarter of 2019; AIG Council Nominations now open; Russell’s Career-Guiding Mantras for Young and Not-So-Young Geoscientists; The Society of Economic Geologists – Advancing Science and Discovery; Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar 2020; 50th Anniversary Volume on Discovery of Ok Tedi; Geosynclines to Plate Tectonics: The Geoscience Revolution of the 1960s; David Timms SMEDG Christmas Cruise 2019; NGG recognises longstanding members; Events Calendar; AIG Council & AIG News and more…

AIG News is optimised to be read with Adobe Reader. Versions are available for printing (with Adobe Reader version 4.1.3 or later) or either reading on-line or downloading for reading off-line with your laptop or tablet (with Adobe Reader version 6.1.5 or later). Both versions have been tested and are compatible with Apple Preview and iBooks for Mac and iPad users.

If you experience any difficulty accessing and reading AIG News using the Adobe Reader versions listed here technical support is available.

We hope that you enjoy the latest AIG News and welcome your feedback.

AIG Careers in Geoscience web pages launched

The careers pages series (13 pages) for geoscientists is an initiative of the AIG National Graduate Group to better inform students and early career graduates who may be considering or embarking upon a career in geoscience in an Australian context.

Information is provided on a broad range of geoscience careers and employment sectors and can be reviewed or downloaded from the pages.

The main page shows the individual sectors where geoscientists are most likely to develop their careers as a group of linked tiles, each leading to more detailed information. By hovering over each tile a short summary of that career sector appears.

Drilling down in a particular career path can access a large amount of information a person may seek when considering a career within that sector.

It starts with a summary of what that geoscientist does and some of their responsibilities.

Key information is a list of activities one would encounter, day to day, in that particular career. Some indications are given of the level of site-based activities and office activities such as interpretation and modelling including use of software. Likely outputs such as reporting, audits etc are listed.

A list of the likely skills requirements for that career path are provided. This covers requirements such as working in teams, working with other disciplines, working with software and some of the basic knowledge required. Of course, this knowledge is in addition to a standard geoscience degree but may highlight specific knowledge required for specialist areas such as numerical skills, statistics or the ability to think in three dimensions. Some specialist areas require experience in another career path prior to specialising and information on where to acquire that experience is provided.

For budding university and senior secondary school students, information is provided on University subjects and unit selection most suited to that career path. This includes some of the specialty subjects particularly required in that career.

For graduating geoscientists, some of the statutory requirements with regard to registration or reporting in that sector are listed. Links are provided that show how that accreditation can be achieved within the AIG.

For a graduating geoscientist a job in their sector is the main aim. Some suggestions are presented on the most common types of organisations where employment may be found for each career path and also some of the peripheral areas where employment may be found.

Of course, each career path has some markedly different lifestyle implications generally determined by where the majority of the work occurs.

Under the Lifestyle heading, likely living and working conditions for that career path are noted. These conditions can be quite variable depending on the business, locations and travel requirements for the job.

In addition to the lifestyle notes, some of the pros and cons of working in that career are discussed. These can be related to absence from home, long hours and shift work as examples of the drawbacks but also highlight the opportunities such as travel, good remuneration etc.

Each career has some Frequently Asked Questions which should aid the candidate who maybe close to a decision. These may have information such as how to become a specialist or what sort of career progression can be expected.

Finally, a printable Fact Sheet covering all aspects of that career path can be downloaded for the users reference. The Fact Sheets also have some useful links for further information that may help the budding geoscientist.

The Careers in Geoscience page can be found at:

Women & Leadership Australia Industry Partnership Framework

Scholarships of up to $5,000 for current and aspiring female leaders

Through the Industry Partnership Framework, Women & Leadership Australia works alongside Australian industry to create deeper awareness and action around gender equity. Widespread industry support enables WLA to reduce barriers for participation in its programs through fee discounts, partial scholarships and interest-free study loans.

Through the support of a range of associations, WLA can periodically provide scholarships for women working in the resources and engineering sector.

Increasing the representation of female leadership within traditionally male-dominated environments such as the resources and engineering sector is a high priority focus in 2020.

Scholarships of $2,000 to $5,000 can now be applied for by women at all management levels across the sector until the end of May, 2020. Expressions of interest are being sourced until Friday, 15th May via this link.

The initiative is providing junior through to executive women managers with scholarships to support their growth and development via participation in one of three flagship development programs. Participants will benefit from course content such as Elements of a Successful Team, Team Dynamics, Purpose Priorities and Professional Development, Empowering Teams, and Evolving Strategic Change

Forensic Geology

IUGS has awarded a ‘Special Project’ to IFG called, ‘Forensic Geological Analysis of Crimes in International Mining, Minerals and Metals‘ This is expected to run from 2020 to 2022. This project seeks to evaluate the current global scale of crimes that take place in the mining, minerals and metals industry, and assess geological methodologies and strategies, which may aid in the detection, prevention, management and mitigation of these crimes.

In February 2020, two members of the IUGS-IFG Committee will visit Poland to assist with a new course including forensic geology at the University of Warsaw. This visit will also focus on the provision of geological advice on search, for the location of war graves associated with the Second World War.

IUGS-IFG have agreed to support a two-year project aimed at searching for the suspected graves of missing persons in Colombia. This will include the adoption of the Geoforensic Search Strategy, developed in the United Kingdom using a blend of geological and law enforcement search techniques and strategies. IUGS-IFG members will meet in Bogota in early March to arrange a timetable and programme.

The Geological Society of London has commenced the publication process of the book, ‘A Guide to Forensic Geology‘, which has been written by the IUGS Initiative on Forensic Geology. This has taken at least a decade to complete and the search chapter has evolved over the past 25 years. The publication is expected to be available later in 2020.