Exploration Radio Episode 39

Ideas that Must (Part 1)

At the end of all of our interviews, Steve and I always ask our guests two questions: what is something they think that needs to live and what is something that needs to die in the mining industry? We thought it would be interesting to put together some of these responses we have received to those questions over the years. So on this episode of Ideas That Must, we are joined by, in order, Jon Goodman, Attila Pentek, Jon Hronsky, Tony Manini, Hedley Widdup and Mary Poulton. Lets find out what they had to say.

If you would like to listen to the full episodes, click on the links below: 
Jon Goodman
Attila Pentek
Jon Hronsky
Tony Manini
Hedley Widdup
Mary Poulton

Until next time, lets keep exploring.

The Lost Cities of Gold with Keith Barron

Ever since I watched the first Indiana Jones movies as a kid, I always wanted to be a real life version of Indy. The hat, the whip, the character that was so wonderfully embodied by Harrison Ford. Everything about that I just loved. That fascination of being a treasure hunter has always stayed with me. I don’t think that is something unique to me though. I would like to think we all have within ourselves a desire to be a treasure hunter. To chase and find a bit of history like Indy did on the screen. 

In 1998, Keith Barron went to Ecuador to participate in a Spanish language school for a month. On this trip, he met a local historian, Professor Octavio Latorre. That chance meeting started a decades long search for 2 gold mines run by the Conquistadors in the 1500s deep in the Ecuadorian jungle. 

Keith is often referred to as the Indiana Jones of Mining. He does not have the hat or the whip, but his search for the Lost Cities of Gold could easily be lifted from a plot line from one of the movies. On face value that’s what it seems like – a crazy treasure hunt in the jungles of South America. But there is much more to this story than just a movie plot line.

Keith Barron is Chairman and CEO of Aurania Resources. Come join us and let’s explore. 

Employment by Region and Occupation NERO — is a new experimental dataset developed by the National Skills Commission, a Commonwealth government agency. 

NERO provides timely information on employment at detailed levels, including 355 occupations across 88 regions in Australia. Until now, data at this level of detail was only readily available once every five years as part of the ABS Census of Population and Housing. With NERO, the insights are available monthly.
As a new source of labour market intelligence, NERO will provide unique and detailed data on employment trends across occupations and regions – in excess of 30,000 series in total.
These data will provide more timely assessments of how regional labour markets are evolving and occupational trends within regional labour markets.
NERO uses an emerging methodology called ‘nowcasting’, which applies both traditional and real-time data, as well as big data techniques, such as machine learning, to estimate current trends. Nowcasting is different to forecasting in that it doesn’t attempt to predict or anticipate the future—its focus is on understanding the now.   
NERO can be searched either by occupation or by region with the data available for download in a variety of ways. 

This first release of NERO includes data from September 2015 to April 2021. Updates for May through to August 2021 are scheduled to be released on 1 September 2021, with subsequent updates to occur on the first Wednesday of each month. At this stage, the NERO estimates are experimental in nature. The NSC welcomes feedback on how the estimates could be improved by emailing: nowcasting@skillscommission.gov.au.

NERO provides the following data for geologists, geophysicists and hydrogeologists as of February 2021.

  • 7426 geologists, geophysicists and hydrogeologists currently employed across Australia
  • Employment fell by 38% in the year to February 2021
  • Employment increased by 7% in the five years to February 2021.

The results are both interesting and relevant to the ongoing refinement of AIG’s purpose and strategy. That there are 7426 geoscientists (geologists, geophysicists and hydrogeologists as defined in the NERO data) comes as no surprise. A working assumption that there were between 6,000 and 8,000 geoscientists in Australia has long been used as a working assumption by professional institutes and learned societies servicing this cohort in Australia, based on past Australian census data. There is a discrepancy in the NERO data that a total of 7112 geoscientists in Australia is reported when data for the individual regions represented (less than 5% discrepancy) in NERO are reported, but that’s arguably not a significant issue in the scheme of things. The data is still better than any analysts have had access to previously.

The breakdown of geoscientists by state provided by NERO is vastly different to that of AIG’s membership base. About half of AIG’s Australian members are in Western Australia (about 42%) and the remainder is spread across the remaining states. Western Australian geoscientists represent just under 30% of the NERO data.

Across Australia, one-third of Australia’s geoscientists are employed in regional areas of Australia. A significant proportion of Australia’s geoscience professionals remains employed in regional areas, despite the rise of fly in – fly out work in exploration and mining.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Capitals-vs-Regions-National-1024x839.png
Geoscientist (geologist, geophysicist and hydrogeologist) employment by state and between capital cities and regional areas according to NERO

This proportion varies markedly between states, generally reflecting the population distribution in that state. Geoscientist employment is capital city focussed in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, and most decentralised in Queensland and Tasmania.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WA.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is NT.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Qld.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is NSW.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Vic.pngThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is TAS.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SA.png
Employment in capital cities and regional areas by state.

What does this mean for AIG’s members?

These results demonstrate that geoscientist employment is likely to be considerably more diverse than suggested by AIG’s membership, which is concentrated in mineral and energy resource exploration, mining and production. The same may be said of AusIMM’s geoscientist membership. This creates a situation where a large cohort of geoscientists are not members of any professional body, requiring adherence to a Code of Ethics or any requirement for continued professional development. These are key elements of any community’s perception of what defines a professional. This has potential to affect the perception of the geoscience profession that would be exposed by an event or incident in which the conduct of a geoscientist was publicly questioned.

The information also provides a basis for assessing the need to service members in regional areas, particularly in States where geoscientist employment is most geographically diverse.

Having access to this information is beneficial to the AIG board in setting the Institute’s short-term priorities and long-term strategy.

In conjunction with the Mentoring Programs and of particular interest to early career geoscientists but open to all AIG members we are running three workshops in the Your Brand series entitled “Pathways to Your Dream Job“.

For each of these sessions, participants will be able to log into the webinar to;

  • participate in the presentation/webinar
  • ask questions of the presenter and
  • prepare brand products worksheet and personal brand inventory worksheets and receive feedback from the presenter on their worksheets.

By completing the three part series and applying what they have learned, the participants will be “market-ready” and set to launch their career.

Webinar 1 “Discover Your Greatness

Wed 28 July 2021, 12pm AEST

Join Patrick McAndless, P.Geo., FGC for an insightful webinar/workshop where participants will uncover their unique way of making a difference to create a personal Brand Statement. The Brand Statement represents your life purpose and internal compass for your entire career journey – vital knowledge for any early career geoscientist (approx 0.5 to 1 hour).

To join the webinar – login at: https://aig.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=92efbee80c7d44c11ec329f02&id=7a84f507fc&e=6fcaa1014e
Passcode: 934349

Or One tap mobile : Australia: +61731853730, 83069442953#, *934349#  or +61861193900, 83069442953#, *934349#

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

Australia: +61 7 3185 3730  or +61 8 6119 3900  or +61 8 7150 1149  or +61 2 8015 6011  or +61 3 7018 2005

Webinar ID: 830 6944 2953
Passcode: 934349

International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kb1O0Nuqbv

Webinar 2 “Apply Your Brand

Wed 4 August 2021, 12pm AEST

Patrick McAndless, P.Geo., FGC presents a second webinar/workshop where participants will learn how to market themselves by applying their newly created Brand Statement to a variety of Brand Products including their resume, Linkedin profile and business card. (approx ½-¾ hour).

To join the webinar/workshop – login at
Passcode: 226012

Or One tap mobile : Australia: +61871501149, 84728452521#, *226012#  or +61280156011, 84728452521#, *226012#

Or Telephone :

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location) : Australia: +61 8 7150 1149  or +61 2 8015 6011  or +61 3 7018 2005  or +61 7 3185 3730  or +61 8 6119 3900

Webinar ID: 847 2845 2521
Passcode: 226012

International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kc6pvFXLpl

Webinar 3 “Speak Your Brand”

Wed 11 August 2021, 12pm AEST

Patrick McAndless, P.Geo., FGC presents the third and final webinar/workshop where participants will learn to effectively market themselves with confidence in all networking situations and job interviews. (approx ½-¾ hour).

To join the webinar/workshop – login at
Passcode: 517608

Or One tap mobile: Australia: +61370182005, 88669288389#, *517608#  or +61731853730, 88669288389#, *517608#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): Australia: +61 3 7018 2005  or +61 7 3185 3730  or +61 8 6119 3900  or +61 8 7150 1149  or +61 2 8015 6011

Webinar ID: 886 6928 8389
Passcode: 517608

International numbers available: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kHS7EXL6M

14-20 September 2021 | Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

AEGC 2021 is now only 10 weeks away and we can’t wait to see as many of you as possible there in person.

We know that not all of you will be able to join us in Brisbane this year so we are committed to offering flexibility in attending the Conference. For those of you that are unable to physically join us, we are excited to be able to offer a fully accessible Conference for all across the globe via our state-of-the-art virtual platform.

Our platform is feature rich with enhanced networking capabilities, including text and video chat.  Don’t miss your chance to re-connect with colleagues around the world.

Watch content on-demand when it fits into your schedule, learn at your own pace and from the comfort of your own space.

Thank you to our sponsors

July – August 2021

AIG’s informative, popular and affordable JORC Code training program is again being presented through a series of webinars during July and August. (commencing 28th July). The seminars are run at times to suit attendees anywhere in the world. The webinar content is continuously updated to ensure that training benefits from attendee feedback and developments in the application of the code in public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves, and caters both for professionals responsible for preparing announcements and using the content that they present.

The course is designed to be flexible. The five, two hour modules may be completed as a single unit or individually according to the needs of course participants.

The latest quarterly survey of geoscientist employment in Australia is open for contributions. AIG members are asked to complete the survey by following this link and encouraging friends and colleagues to also contribute. You do not need to be an AIG member to participate in the survey which is open to all geoscientists working, or seeking work in Australia.

This installment in this long-running survey series is designed to examine whether recent improvements in employment conditions for geoscientists throughout Australia have continued.  Geoscientist unemployment fell to just 4.5% nationally in the final quarter of 2020, but increased, contrary to anecdotal evidence, in the first quarter of 2021. 

Geoscientist unemployment and under-employment in Australia: June 2009-March 2021

Geoscientist unemployment in Australia in the first quarter of 2021 was 5.8%, up from 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020.  Underemployment increased slightly from 9.3% at the end of 2020 to 9.7% in the first quarter of 2021.  The increase in unemployment in the first quarter of any year is generally considered to reflect decreased exploration activity due to the Christmas-New Year holidays and the northern Australia wet season.  In this survey, however, the proportion of responses from self-employed geoscientists, or geoscientists in part-time and casual employment also fell.  These employment sectors are usually most affected by seasonal conditions.  State government responses to COVID-19 infections and continues to affect business confidence and planning in Australia.

The survey takes only two or three minutes to complete.  No data that could personally identify respondents is collected.

Contributions to the survey are sought from both employed and unemployed geoscientists to ensure the relevance of the results.

Your completing the survey really helps to make a difference to the standing and knowledge of our profession.

The survey will be open for contributions until Saturday, 31st July, 2021.  Every contribution adds to the reliability of the survey results.   Sincere thanks in advance for your support of this survey series. Again, follow this link to complete the survey.

2021 marks 40 years since AIG’s formation.  We are looking forward to 2021 being a strong year across many areas and issues affecting our profession.

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 143: Download as Single Pages PDF
PDF For web: AIG News 143: Download as Double Page Spread PDF
PDF For print: AIG News 143: Download as Single Pages PDF
PDF For print: AIG News 143: Download as Double Page Spread PDF

Inside this latest issue…

From Your President; Institute News; QLD , VIC, TAS Branch Report; Education Reports; Membership Updates & RPGeo Applications; Annual General Meeting 2021; Dale Sims – Incoming AIG President; Dodgy Data and Dendrograms; Essential Non-Geophysical Software for windows; Geoscientist employment : 2020 ends with a strong improvement in geoscientist employments; Mines & Wines provisional program; The next generation of geoscientists; The humble quartz vein (and its gold); A geological career which is “out of this world”; Vale Edward Dronseika; The “C” in CSA : Rupert William Ashton Crowe, Geologist, Enterpreneur, Mentor; Peter (David) Timms : Obituary; 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.


The Society of Economical Geologists (SEG) and the Society of Economic Geologists Canada Foundation invite you to register for the SEG 100 Conference, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate SEG’s Centenary.

SEG 100: Celebrating a Century of Discovery

When: September 14-17, 2021

Where: Virtual Event

SEG has a rich history and was at the forefront of developing economic geology as a profession.  As an international society committed to advancing science, discovery and responsible mining, we are excited to share our program with a wide audience through our virtual platform.  In person attendance in Whistler may also be possible, if health regulations allow.

We welcome you to participate, exploring the game changing science and discovery of the last 100 years and looking forward to the future. The themes reflect key areas of understanding, including ore-forming processes, structural controls and the new and exciting advances in technology and understanding that will take us ‘Beyond 2021.

Conference themes

  • Game Changers — The First Hundred Years
  • Lindgren’s Legacy — Ore Deposits in Depth
  • Gold 2020s: Golden Past, Precious Future
  • Basins through Time — Linking Process and Ore Systems
  • Ore Deposit Structure — Processes, Patterns, and Innovations
  • Beyond 2021 — The Next Hundred Years
  • Diversity in Ore Deposits
  • Tectonomagmatism and Porphyry-Epithermal Metallogeny (Tribute to Jeremy P. Richards)

Visit the conference website to register, and for more information about the program and speakers.

Like SEG on Facebook, follow @segweb and #SEG100 on Twitter, follow @societyofeconomicalgeologists on Instagram and follow SEG on LinkedIn to share Conference updates with your networks and followers.

Registration for the 2022 Frank Arnott
Next Generation Explorers Award (NGEA™) is now open!

Are you a current earth science student looking for career development, international recognition and a chance to win cash prizes? Then this is the challenge for you!

The NGEA™ is an international mining competition that offers students hands-on experience working with modern geoscience datasets encountered in the field, opportunities to improve their leadership and team-based skills, and the ability to expand their industry networks and increase potential employment opportunities.

The challenge is open to students who are either currently enrolled in an undergraduate earth science degree or post-graduate research (masters or PhD) at the time of registering. Teams are encouraged to be multi-disciplinary and include members from other fields of study (i.e., engineers, data scientists, economists, social scientists, etc.).

This year’s challenge features a grand prize of CAN$5000 for the team with the highest judges’ score. Three new prize categories of CAN$3000 each have also been created: 1) Innovation, 2) Data integration and 3) Impact & Exploration Significance.

The judges will award these prizes based on participants’ scores for each category. Teams are eligible to win both the grand prize and a category prize, however, they are not eligible to win more than one category prize. 

With the final contestants presenting at the PDAC 2022 convention, the NGEA™ will contribute funds for the flight and accommodation costs to Toronto for two to four members of the finalist teams (dependent on the convention being held in-person).

It’s important to note that each team must meet a minimum of two aspects of “Team Diversity” for entry into the NGEA™. Diversity may be in the form of discipline/specialisation, gender, nationality, culture, etc. Teams that do not meet these criteria will not be eligible for the award.

Please visit www.frankarnottaward.com to enter your team!

New Datasets Added

Students now have the ability to select from eight different datasets, including two new ones from Australia and Ireland/Northern Ireland.

While additional datasets may be added, we would like to thank our current dataset providers:

Geoscience BC, Geological Survey of Ireland, Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, Geological Survey of Queensland, Geological Survey of South Australia, New South Wales Geological Survey, NRCan-Geological Survey of Canada, Saskatchewan Geological Survey, Uganda Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (UDGSM) and the Yukon Geological Survey.


Congratulations to 2021 Finalists!

Last year’s NGEA™ was a great success with the Inca Team winning the first place prize of CAN $5000! Inca worked on the Yukon Plateau dataset and featured students from the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marco in Peru, the University of Tasmania in Australia and Brigham Young University in the USA.

Team UWA from the University of Western Australia placed second and the CSM Exploration Initiative from the Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter placed third.

To view all the finalists and contending teams, please visit our website

Thank you to our sponsors for their continued support of the award! To learn more about sponsoring the award or to view the full list of sponsors, please visit our website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question for us? Check out the FAQ section on the website! 

If you have any questions about the challenge, please contact us at NextGenerationExplorersAward@gmail.com.