Vale Michael (Mike) Binns

Mike passed away 16th May 2022

Mike Binns

Mike was known to most people as a Robertson Research geologist, geochemist and geostatistician based in Sydney and Bowral. He travelled for the company to many out of the way places around the world and to most mineral provinces in Australia.

Later he formed his own company Minstat Pty Ltd and contracted mostly to Nord Pacific working on their Simberi Island gold project and Girilambone copper deposits (Tritton).

He moved to Brisbane in 2003 and worked for Hatch and later Nord Resources until his retirement.

Mike’s funeral took place in Brisbane 23rd May 2022.

His ashes will be interred at Cherrybrook Uniting Church, 134 New Line Rd, Cherrybrook, Sydney, on Tuesday 28th June at 1.30pm. There will be a short service at the wall for those who wish to attend with refreshments after.

Mike had motor neurone disease (MND) which is little understood and for which there is no cure. He requested if people felt inclined a donation be made to MND Australia Research.

Register Your Team for the 2023 Challenge!

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 NGEATM 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, and three prizes of CAN$3000 for the categories of: 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 in person at the PDAC 2023 convention, the NGEATM will contribute funds for the flight and accommodation costs to Toronto for two to four members of the finalist teams.

It’s important to note each team must meet a minimum of two aspects of “Team Diversity” for entry into the NGEATM. 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.

Sign up your team at

Submit your short abstract before 13 July 2022

One month to GO!

Our Conference theme, “Geoscience – Breaking New Ground” invites you to submit your short abstract of 300 words or less to be considered for the extended abstract submission process!

Key Dates

  • Short Abstract Submission Open: Now open
  • Short Abstract Submission Close: 13 July 2022
  • Early Bird Registration Open: 11 August 2022
  • Extended Abstract Submission Close: 15 November 2022
  • Early Bird Registration Close: 13 November 2022
  • Standard Registration: From 14 November 2022
  • Conference Dates: 13 – 18 March 2023

Sponsorship and Exhibition Prospectus Launch

  • Showcase your brand to an expected 1,000 delegates.
  • Extend your market reach beyond regular networks by engaging with leaders and key decision makers.
  • Elevate your profile through premium brand positioning and maximum industry connectivity.
  • Demonstrate your commitment towards the advancement in exploration geoscience by partnering with this capacity-building event.

GSSA and SACNASP are offering a diamonds short course with optional mine visits in South Africa for those able to attend, 20-30 June, 2022.

The last half-century has seen a massive shift in geological thinking and technological development across all facets of the diamond exploration, mining, recovery, manufacturing, and marketing spectrum. Recently synthetic gemstone diamonds have taken an important place alongside natural gemstone diamonds and jewellery. Blockchain technology is coming to the fore to ensure ‘source to sale-point’ tracing and integrity.

OGG in conjunction with a team of prominent local and international experts, SADPO (which represents the South African Small and Junior alluvial and kimberlite producers), and the GSSA, is offering an eleven-part series covering the complete range of diamond exploration, evaluation, mining, processing, recovery, manufacturing, and marketing.

This course provides participants with exposure to the latest developments in diamond exploration, geophysics, craton and structural studies, kimberlite petrology and mineralogy, diamond formation, mantle indicator and fine diamond applications. It further covers the full ambit of primary (kimberlites and lamproites) and secondary (land and marine-based alluvial) diamond deposits, including the evaluation, mining and exploitation, processing and diamond recovery from these deposits, as well as marketing and sales.

Click here for full course details and registration information.

ACoP and Deakin University have joined forces to move professional education forward

Professional Practice Credentials are a new way of assessing, recognising and developing workplace capabilities, designed for the digital age. It involves candidates gathering evidence of abilities and reflecting on their experience, being assessed on this and ultimately being awarded a professional credential (or ‘badge’) by Deakin University which can be attached to your CV and shared on professional digital platforms such as LinkedIn.

  • Formal recognition through Deakin University of capabilities, based on past and present work experiences
  • Current knowledge and capabilities are assessed – no study or learning is required
  • A simple online process – candidates don’t need to attend classes or sit exams
  • Expert university-verified assessors will provide independent validation and formal feedback to further your professional development
  • Credits towards eligible Deakin University post-graduate courses

Professional Practice Credentials provide:

Ethics are a key attribute of professionalism. Professional Ethics are an important part of building trust between colleagues, customers and suppliers. And this plays a big role in an organisation’s culture, brand value and reputation.  Acting ethically involves behaving honestly and with integrity, which helps individuals build trust and organisations gain respect, work and repeat business.

Who can undertake the Professional Ethics Credential?

You can enrol in the Professional Ethics Credential at various levels depending on your experience:

  • Practitioner: “I make operational decisions with an awareness of the ethical implications. I am an experienced professional.
  • Advanced: “I monitor and ensure ethical practices within my team and address ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest. I am a senior professional.
  • Expert: “I ensure personal and organisational practices comply with the highest professional and ethical standards. I am a senior leader in my organisation.

How long does the credential take and is there any study involved?

The Professional Credential is about recognising your existing capabilities by assessing past and current work experiences. No learning or study is required.  All you need to do is write a guided reflection and record a simple video.  On average, the preparation of the submission takes about 10 to 12 hours which you can do at your own pace.  

What will I get at the end?

Successful candidates receive a Deakin University digital badge, with certified embedded metadata, which you can share through social media and professional platforms.

You’ll also have renewed confidence, as you and those around you realise what you have achieved in your work. New insights and knowledge that are the best paths to professional development. 

How much does the Professional Ethics Credential cost? 

The Deakin Professional Practice Credential normal fee is $495 including GST, but ACoP Member Organisations and their member professionals are eligible for the special discounted rate of $396 (incl GST). Simply enter ‘ACOP’ when prompted. AIG is an ACoP member.

What next and how do I enrol? 
Head straight to to read more details and FAQs

The AIG Board for 2022-23 is:

Doug Brown *
Rod Carlson
Mark Derriman
Nick Franey *
Nicole Galloway Warland
Genna McDonagh *
Doug Menzies
Leah Moore
Heidi Pass *
Kirsty Sheerin *
Dale Sims
Mark Tait *
Andrew Waltho

* New Directors

Proposed changes to AIG’s Constitution were accepted by members at the AGM. The updated Constitution is available via the AIG member portal (follow the myAIG link on the website homepage.

Thanks to all Members who participated in the 2022 AGM.

2022 Bursary Applications

Closing date for 2022 applications is Saturday 6th August.

The Australian Institute of Geoscientists’ Student Bursary Program was initiated to promote and support geoscience education in Australia. The Bursary Program began in 2001 to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) and, since then, the AIG has awarded over 230 bursaries to geoscience students in Australian universities. In 2022, the AIG is again offering bursaries to Honours, Postgraduate and Third Year geoscience students.

The 2022 Bursary awards, which have values between A$1000 and A$4000, are supported by the AIG nationally, and also by the generous support of individuals and organisations, including the AIG state branches and individual AIG Members.

Eligibility criteria and guidelines for bursary applications are given on pages 1, 2 and 3. A bursary application form is included as page 4.


The AIG Student Bursary Program is open to students who, at the closing date for applications, are:

  • enrolled at Third Year, Honours or Postgraduate level in a geoscience major degree course at an Australian tertiary institution; and
  • Australian citizens or permanent residents.


The AIG Bursary awards are generally announced and awarded in early- to mid-October each year. Applicants seeking funding for specific activities should ensure that the timing of these activities is appropriate to this schedule.

The application guidelines and form can be downloaded here.

Applicants should fill in the application form, complete with the requested signatures, and upload it in a zip file along with the documents requested in the guidelines. Applicants are also requested to fill in the fields below, so that we can confirm contact details and check we have received the relevant uploaded application documents.

    Application for*

    Family Name*

    Given Names*

    Tertiary Institution*


    Name of Degree*

    Research Project Title (Honours & Postgraduate students)*

    Postal address*

    Mobile phone*

    Email address*

    Attach supporting documents*
    Please ensure all documents are compressed into a zipped folder prior to upload. (Please label zip file with your full name - eg: John Smith = Please try to keep the total file size to less than 5MB.

    The Bursary awards are determined by the AIG Federal Education Committee and AIG Council based on the material provided by applicants. The decisions of the AIG are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

    AIG initiated a project in May 2021 to randomly assess announcements of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves released by ASX listed companies. The initial objective of the project, undertaken by AIG’s Complaints Committee, was to assess the level of JORC Code compliance by Competent Persons, and identify areas of concern that could be specifically targeted in professional development resources provided to Members. The project has continued in parallel with work by the JORC Committee and Parent Bodies (AIG, AusIMM and the Minerals Council of Australia – MCA) to update the JORC Code that has included a project to assess accreditation requirements for Competent Persons.

    Study progress has been reported to the AIG Board regularly during the course of the study, leading the Board to recommend the release of results to Members.

    Study Results

    The results of the study, to date, show cause for concern.

    Almost one in five of the announcements reviewed was determined not to adequately comply with the JORC Code (2012).

    The Complaints Committee has initiated 37 complaints processes during the review, involving complaints to ASX relating to the actions of companies, or both AIG and AusIMM members where the complaint related to reporting of information by Competent Persons.

    All of the complaints relating to work performed by Competent Persons dealt with procedural issues, resolved with AIG members by contacting them and suggesting ways in which the announcement could have been improved, to better meet the requirements of the Code.

    No cases resulted in disciplinary action by AIG’s Ethics and Standards Committee.

    An expected, but positive aspect of the review was that the majority of members contacted in relation to issues with announcements for which they acted as Competent Persons expressed appreciation for the feedback provided, with some going on to request review and feedback of further announcements prior to their release.

    Where AusIMM members were involved, a complaint was submitted for consideration by the AusIMM Professional Standards Committee.

    Complaints relating to the practice of companies were referred to ASX for action, and resulted in announcements being revised and reissued by the companies involved in several cases.

    Geographic Scope of the Review

    The announcements reviewed covered projects in 33 countries and activities covering the full-spectrum of work covered by the JORC Code.

    Countries in which projects for which announcements were reviewed are located
    Geographic regions in which projects with reviewed announcements are located

    The map and accompanying pie-chart highlight the extent to which Australian-listed companies are engaged in projects both within Australia and internationally. An interesting feature of the mao and chart is the presence of Australian companies in the Americas and Africa, and the relatively low level of activity in Asia and Oceania.

    Within Australia, Western Australia accounted for almost two thirds of the public reports reviewed, followed by New South Wales (11%), Queensland (10%) and the Northern Territory (6%).


    Exploration announcements (exploration plans, drilling updates etc.) account for 84% of the announcements reviewed. Mineral Resource and Ore Reserve estimates accounted for around 6%, studies (scoping, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies) 3% and metallurgical testwork results 2%.

    Topics covered by reviewed announcements


    Gold was the dominant subject, accounting for just less than half of the public reports reviewed. Gold was followed by copper (15%), nickel (13%), lithium (6%) and zinc (3%).

    Key Issues Identified by the Review

    Issues of concern identified in announcements included:

    • Failure to nominate a Competent Person. This alone accounted for more than 20% of compliance issues identified by the study to date. This was the principal cause of announcements being referred to ASX.
    • Failure to name the Competent Person when restating information included in a previous announcement (JORC (2012) Clause 9).
    • Ineligibility of the Competent Person to act in that capacity by not being a Member of AIG, AusIMM or an approved RPO.
    • A lack of “if not, why not” reporting in Table 1 inclusions (required by JORC (2012) Clause 5).
    • Not supporting announcements of drilling results with drill hole details, plans and cross-sections.
    • Not reviewing the reliability of historic data used to develop exploration plans, targets and resource estimates, especially when used in conjunction with new data collected by the current project owners.
    • Inadequate description of mineralisation intersected by drilling but for which assays were yet to be received (e.g. massive sulphides without any estimate of sulphide mineral abundance or description of the species present, or describing “visible copper” or “visible nickel” in samples without describing the form in which it occurs or an estimate of relative abundance).
    • Claims relating to how mineralisation may be mined and processed without any form of study (e.g. describing mineralisation as “direct shipping ore” based on initial drilling results).
    • Use of excessively “entrepreneurial” language (e.g. high-grade, world-class, Tier 1 used to describe prospects in the initial stages of exploration, in some cases without drilling results), contravening the JORC Code requirement for balanced reporting.
    • No mention of the project’s location (a surprisingly common issue, but a factor that is critical to investors).
    • Reporting of resource estimates without any description of the process used to prepare the estimate.
    • Description of bulk samples extracted from surface trenches over steeply dipping mineralisation as representative of the deposit being investigated.
    • Competent Persons accepting responsibility for work beyond their area of expertise (e.g. geologists signing off on complex metallurgical recovery and refining processes).
    • A lack of substance in JORC Table 1 content, or failing to include a JORC Table 1 disclosure for projects, especially where previous work represented a major component of the available information for a project.


    These issues potentially highlight a need for continuing education of Competent Persons and are able to be incorporated into AIG’s JORC education workshops which are continuously improved using feedback received from participants, or covered by AIG’s mentoring program which has been extended to cater for experienced in addition to early career members in recent years. Importantly, the trial revealed valuable information and is considered to highlight the value of continuing this work. Monitoring a relatively small proportion of announcements successfully identified a number of recurring issues that, when addressed, have potential to improve the standard of public reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves, investor and public confidence in our profession.

    Andrew Waltho
    Complaints Committee

    More ground will soon be available for Minerals Exploration Licence applications in an area with copper, other base metals and minerals sands potential in western Victoria.

    Access to land for exploration in the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative area was suspended by the Victorian government in 2015.

    Through the 2018 Stavely Ground Release, 11 large blocks of land with a temporary hold on minerals activity were offered to the market and six blocks were awarded.

    The remaining area, which totals over 11,000 square kilometres, covering parts of the Wimmera as well as areas north and east of Hamilton and around Mortlake, became available for minerals exploration licence applications from 2 May 2022.

    Stavely Minerals Exploration Inititiative area, Western Victoria

    Exploration will not be permitted in national parks, wilderness parks, or state parks. Explorers must obtain consent of landholders before accessing private property.

    Between May and June 2022, the Geological Survey of Victoria will continue to hold information sessions about land access landholders’ rights and opportunities should an explorer seek access to their properties.

    Through the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative, the department has taken an integrated approach between 2015 and 2022 to ensure:

    • responsible explorers are attracted to the Stavely Arc region in western Victoria, and
    • local communities and stakeholders in the area have a high degree of information and awareness of the initiative, landholder rights and environmental protections.

    Key steps included:

    • Building on the long mineral exploration history of the region with new geoscientific investigations undertaken between 2015 and 2018. The research indicates there is potential for copper, other metals and gold in western Victoria. Read more about the Stavely geoscience project.
    • From 2015, the government progressively placed a hold on exploration applications for ground within the Stavely Project Area to enable the orderly and optimal development of the area. Read more about Section 7 exemptions.
    • Undertaking local community and stakeholder engagement to understand the factors important to local communities in the area. This includes informing landholders about their rights and supporting public confidence about future minerals exploration. Read more about the community engagement program.
    • Holding the Stavely Ground Release in 2018 through a competitive, merit-based tender. Six of the 11 blocks within the Stavely Project Area were awarded. Read more about the tender process.

    The government announced that the Stavely Minerals Exploration Initiative is now effectively complete.

    4 May 2022

    The Australian Academy of Science is calling for applications for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scientist Award.

    A Sash Gwion panel painted over early art and hand stencils. Photo credit: Kimberley Foundation Australia, Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation by Mark Jones, provided by the Australian Academy of Science

    The Academy has recently broadened the award’s remit to also include research
    support of up to $20,000.

    The award recognises research in the physical and biological sciences conducted by outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PhD students and early- and mid-career scientists. It allows interdisciplinary and sociocultural research that could straddle the social sciences and humanities.

    The aim is to support the recipients’ research and/or the expansion and growth of their research networks and international knowledge exchange through visits to relevant international centres of research.

    Awards are for up to $20,000, with additional support provided to attend the Academy’s annual Science at the Shine Dome event.

    The deadline for the 2023 round of applications is 11:59 PM (AEST) on Wednesday 1 June 2022.

    For enquiries, please email the Awards team.