AGC Indigenous Geoscience Scholarship

AGC Indigenous Geoscience Scholarship

The Australian Geoscience Council is offering a scholarship to provide financial support of $5000 per annum for a full-time student to finish their undergraduate degree. The scholarship is available to Indigenous
students who have completed at least the first year of their university course and intends majoring in a field of Geoscience.

The scholarship will be managed by the Aurora Education Foundation, a group which specialises in supporting indigenous education.

For those who want more, details of the scholarship are listed on the AGC website –

as well as Aurora’s –

AIG is a member of the Australian Geoscience Council.

Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies

The Go-To Global Rankings for Mining Investment

The Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank, conducts an annual global survey of mining industry executives and managers to rank jurisdictions around the world based on their attractiveness to mining investment.

The results help identify the countries, states, and provinces whose mining policies either attract or repel investors. Participants also offer critical insight into the policy issues that matter most to the global mining industry.

Every year, we strive to increase our response rate with sufficient data to evaluate more mining jurisdictions worldwide, providing governments with candid, measurable feedback on their mining policy framework.

Western Australia was ranked 1 in the Fraser Institute’s 2019 survey.

To participate in this year’s survey, please send your contact information to Your information will be kept in strict confidence, and will not be shared with anyone outside of the mining survey.

To learn more about this project, please contact Ashley Stedman, Senior Policy Analyst, at +1 (403) 216-7175 ext. 428 or

The Survey of Mining Companies: 2019 ranked the investment climate of 76 jurisdictions around the world based on the opinions of mining executives.

Minimum Standards for Mineral Prospecting in New South Wales

The New South Wales government has issued minimum standards to be considered by the Department of Regional NSW Mining, Exploration and Geoscience (MEG) when assessing an application for the grant, transfer or renewal of an authority. 

A copy of the standard is available here.

AIG received a copy of the standard dated June 2020 today.

The NSW Government states that holding an authority to explore for minerals in NSW comes with certain rights and responsibilities. MEG expects explorers in NSW to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the sustainable discovery and development of the state’s mineral resources, based on Schedule 1B of the Mining Act 1992 (Mining Act) that allows the decision-maker to take into account minimum standards when assessing an application for the grant, transfer or renewal of an authority. This standard details the mandatory criteria required to meet minimum standards and how MEG will apply them. 

The standards will be applied when assessing an applicant’s proposed work program, and when considering their technical and financial capability to carry out the work program and are intended to foster a commitment to effective and sustainable exploration. 

These criteria: 

  • benchmark applicant credentials, experience and financial capability to explore in NSW 
  • require applicants or transferees to submit geoscientifically and technically appropriate work programs that clearly describe the objectives, rationale and intended outcome of the exploration activities proposed over the term of the title, including environmental management and community consultation 
  • in the case of renewal applications, require authority holders to demonstrate over the preceding term of the authority either of authentic and tangible progress in advancing the geoscientific knowledge of the resource potential of the authority or project area and making reasonable progress in advancing a project towards mining status.

The minimum standards are intended to facilitate informed, consistent and transparent decision-making on exploration licence and assessment lease applications and also provide greater clarity and certainty to applicants and the community on how MEG assesses applications for these authorities. 

The minimum standards apply to applications for all Exploration Licences (EL) and Assessment Leases (AL) under the Mining Act, including for coal authorities. They do not apply to applications for Mining LeasesConsolidated Mining Leases or Mineral Claims (i.e. Group 7 Opals). 

An applicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must have either

  • five or more years’ exploration experience in the mineral group(s) or deposit setting nominated in the proposed work program.
  • membership with a recognised relevant professional organisation (e.g. AusIMM or Australian Institute of Geoscientists) at the minimum level of Fellow

An applicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must have not, at any time, had their membership refused, revoked or suspended by the organisation for conduct-related reasons.  Anapplicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must not have been convicted in the last 10 years of a serious offence under the Mining Act, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 or other relevant legislation or equivalent legislation in other jurisdictions.

Financial capability assessment requires applicant’s and transferee’s:

  • are not bankrupt or in administration; 
  • have sufficient capital currently on hand to meet the forecast expenditure and committed objectives of the entire work program; or
  • have third party commitment for the provision of finance to meet the forecast expenditure and committed objectives of the entire proposed work program; or,
  • their Board Members or Corporate Officers have successfully raised capital in the past for similar exploration programs in NSW or other jurisdictions.

MEG has published separate Work Program Guidelines that outline the expectations for how a work program is prepared in accordance with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements. These are available on the MEG website.   Guidance on how work programme requirements can be met is provided by MEG’s Work Program Guidelines

The guidelines are interpreted to represent explicit documentation of conditions that have previously applied to exploration tenement in New South Wales.  Technical Manager competence requirements, in some respects, are similar to the requirements associated with acting as a Competent Person ion compliance with the JORC Code.  The wording of the competence provisions is ambiguous in that being a Fellow of AIG or AusIMM appears to be optional.  The requirement for not having been subject to disciplinary action by AIG or AusIMM can only be satisfied by Fellows of either Institute.

Further information regarding the guidelines is being sought.  Feedback from Members is welcome.

Exploration Radio

AIG is proud to announce that it has extended its sponsorship of Exploration Radio for a further year.

Exploration Radio is considered to be a source of high quality and diverse professional development opportunities for geoscientists interested in the technical, commercial and social aspects of mineral exploration.  The varied content covered by the podcast is relevant to both early career and experienced geoscientists.

AIG’s funding contributes to the not inconsiderable task of producing regular podcast episodes throughout the year. 

JORC Committee Vacancy: Expressions of Interest Sought

Do you have a passion for best practice in public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves?  Expressions of interest are sought from Fellows and Members for a vacancy on the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC).

AIG has four representatives on the JORC Committee, responsible for representing the interests of AIG’s membership and, collaboratively contributing to the ongoing development of the JORC Code and education dealing with its application.  Other committee members are drawn from the committee’s two other parent bodies, the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and MInerals Council of Australia (MCA).  The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) are also represented on the committee.  

All public statements of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves made by ASX- and NZSX-listed companies, and all exploration reports submitted to New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals must be prepared by a Competent Person and comply with the minimum requirements set out by the JORC Code.  Compliance with the JORC Code is required of all AIG members in compliance with AIG’s Code of Ethics.

A planned update of the JORC Code has commenced.  A range of issues including competence required to be demonstrated by Competent Persons and the need to ensure that inherent risks revealed by the evaluation of exploration and resource evaluation projects at all stages of development are expected to feature in the update.  The update will feature an extensive stakeholder consultation project, the results of which will be analysed by committee members in recommending improvements to the code.

Expressions of interest are sought from AIG Fellows and Members able to commit to actively participating in the JORC Code update and subsequent stakeholder information and education work.  Interested members should provide a covering letter outlining their interest in participating in the JORC Committee’s work, and a brief curriculum vitae outlining their relevant experience.  Interested members should be able to act as a  Competent Person, as defined by the 2012 edition of the code.

Expressions of interest are also sought from Graduate Members and Members to help to support the revision of the Code, which is expected to provide a great opportunity to gain experience in the development of important professional practices and policies.

Expressions of interest should be submitted to AIG’s Executive Officer, Lynn Vigar, by email prior to 28 August 2020.  Expressions of interest will be considered by the AIG Board which will recommend an applicant for confirmation by the other two JORC parent bodies, ideally at the commitee’s September meeting.

The vacancy has been created by the resignation of Dr Jacqui Coombes (MAIG) from the committee.  Dr Coombes has been a strong advocate for exploration and mining geoscientists in her role as an AIG representative, with a very sound knowledge of the needs of investors and regulators interested in the content and standard of public announcements relating to exploration and mining projects. 

Sincere thanks are extended to Dr Coombes for her valued service to our profession.

SGA 2021

AIG is proud to be a co-sponsor of SGA 2021: the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits 16th biennial meeting to be held in Rotorua New Zealand, 15-18 November 2021.

The conference theme is

The Critical Role of Minerals in the Carbon Neutral Future.

The meeting will feature presentations on topics related to mineral deposit research, exploration, sustainable development and environmental and social aspects related to mineral deposits.

The Technical Programme will consist of four days of oral and poster presentations with themes including:

• Specific mineral systems

  • Ore forming processes
  • Specific mineral systems
  • New research and exploration developments
  • Geometallurgy
  • Sustainable mining and environmental issues
  • Social license

Visit the conference website for full information on what to expect and how to submit an abstract.

COVID-19 & Gender Equity

The Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC) have partnered with the University of Queensland and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on men’s and women’s careers.

The purpose of this research project is to gain a clear understanding of the COVID-19 environment and its potential impact upon women’s ongoing career progression through a shift in the division of domestic labour as well as disparate effects upon women in different working environments.

If you would like to support this important project, we encourage you to participate in the research which involves a ten minute survey.

The survey results will:

  • inform a report outlining the impact of COVID-19 on the ongoing working lives of men and women
  • assist in providing recommendations to organisations and policy suggestions to state and federal government. 

As a member of AGEC, Women & Leadership Australia strongly supports this research and we hope you will take the time to participate.  The greater the number of people participating, the greater will be the impact of the findings, and the harder for the findings to be ignored.

Start Survey

Geoscientist Employment Improves in Australia Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Brisbane, 12th August 2020

Geoscientist employment in Australia improved in the second quarter of 2020.  Nationally, unemployment decreased to 8.6% from 10% in the March quarter, while underemployment also fell to 17.4% from 18.1% for the period.

Geoscientist unemployment and underemployment in Australia June 2009 – June 2020

AIG President, Andrew Waltho, described the improvement as most welcome.  “The level of improvement observed in the survey results was small but defied the increase in unemployment observed in the Australian community as a whole, and the sharp downturn in economic activity affecting Australia’s economy” Mr Waltho said.  “Some caution is needed with the improvement recorded only representing half of the increase observed during the first quarter of this year, but any improvement under the economic conditions prevailing in Australia at the moment is both welcome and encouraging” Mr Waltho said.

“With more than three-quarters of Australia’s geoscientists working in exploration and mining, the results point to the absolute importance of our mineral resource industries in helping to maintain economic activity in Australia, even while in recession” Mr Waltho said.  

“This quarter is also the first time since the 2011 minerals boom that geoscientist unemployment has fallen below the unemployment rate for the Australian economy as a whole, pointing to the success of efforts being made to ensure business continuity and resilience during the pandemic” Mr Waltho said.  

“It is very encouraging to see mining and exploration activity continuing across Australia under very difficult conditions” Mr Waltho said.

Employment impacts varied between states.  Unemployment amongst geoscientists fell in Western Australia, but increased slightly in Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, and Victoria.  Underemployment fell in Western Australia, New South Wales and ACT, and Victoria, and remained little changed in Queensland from the previous quarter.

Unemployment and underemployment by state – June 2020

A high proportion of self-employed geoscientists, however, continued to experience difficulty securing more than a quarter of their desired workload.

Long term unemployment remained stubbornly high, with almost 34% of unemployed geoscientists reporting having been out of work for more than 12 months, including 22% who have been out of work for more than two years.  Some 40% of unemployed geoscientists were not confident of returning to work within the next 12 months.

“Long-term unemployment continues to be of serious concern” Mr Waltho said.  

“AIG,  other professional associations and industry groups including CSIRO have responded positively to the challenges posed by the pandemic and the need to suppress the coronavirus through limiting gatherings of people by moving quickly to delivering professional development talks, seminars and short-courses on-line, allowing members to continue to develop their careers from home” Mr Waltho said.  

“These have included many talks and seminars delivered at no cost to participants in an effort to provide members with accessible and valuable professional development opportunities, essential to maintain members’ skills and motivation” Mr Waltho said.  

“In many ways, access to continued professional development opportunities has improved significantly, with events previously available only in particular cities or states accessible nationally, and by members overseas” Mr Waltho said.  

“Professional associations are learning things in response to the pandemic that will become part of the way in which they engage with members on an ongoing basis, to the benefit of all” Mr Waltho said.  

“A recent success has been delivery of structured training on public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves in compliance with the JORC Code which sets out minimum standards for this in Australia and New Zealand and is used as a model in many countries throughout the world”.  

“The short course was originally developed for face to face delivery but has been adapted to become a very successful and effective on-line offering that has attracted attendees from a number of overseas countries and professionals from non-geoscience fields such as banking and finance and investors to whom mineral resources and reserves are relevant to their work and future” Mr Waltho said.  

“It has been both gratifying and encouraging to receive extremely positive feedback from participants that will contribute to continuous improvement of the course”.  

“AIG is always looking at ways of improving benefits of membership to professional geoscientists globally” Mr Waltho said.

An excellent response to the survey was received nationally, with 508 geoscientists completing the survey. Responses from geoscientists in South Australia fell, however, preventing state employment and underemployment results from being reported.

The next survey will be conducted at the end of September.  All contributors, especially AIG members, are thanked for their ongoing support.