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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.

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…


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 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.