Careers in Geoscience: Resources

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Careers in Geoscience: Resources

Resource geologists are employed by organisations working within the minerals extraction and consulting industries. They are responsible for developing and estimating the quantity and quality of mineral deposits. Their work is most commonly office based either on a mine site, or in a corporate office. The resource geologist is reliant on the exploration geologist and mine/project geologist to provide high quality drilling, sampling, geological, structural and quality data to generate a 3D estimate of tonnes and grade/quality that is in turn used by mining engineers to estimate the value of economically extractable material.


The resource geologist is typically not a raw graduate, as the skills needed to be able to interpret all the requirements of a Mineral/Coal Resource require exposure to many facets of geology including the raw data collection. A resource geologist often starts their career as an exploration or mine geologist.

Typical duties for a resource geologist include:

  • Collating and interpreting with exploration and mine geologists the geological setting and detailed 3-D locations of the material of value
  • Liaising with exploration and mine geologists to confirm validity of the data
  • Interpreting quality of data through statistical analysis
  • Using mining industry software packages to develop wireframes/grids and block models to enable the estimation of quantity and quality
  • Use geostatistics to assist in defining the modelling parameters and to optimise the model through iteration
  • Report on methods used and results of modelling exercises
  • Provide input to project teams to develop resource models through Concept, Pre-feasibility and Feasibility stages
  • Resources audits
Skills Required

The job carries a high level of responsibility, as the employee carries the responsibility to develop what are commonly public statements of value through the Mineral Resource estimate. A Resource Geologist needs to have a broad exposure to different geological settings, a detailed understanding of appropriate software use, geostatistical skills, and be able to identify areas of potential flaws in areas ranging from sampling, analytical, geometallurgical, geotechnical, and engineering.

Typical skills required are:

  • Knowledge of a range of geosciences and their applications
  • Ability to work within a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers
  • Good organisational skills
  • High level of mining software and general computer literacy and ability to analyse numerical and graphical data
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Geostatistics
  • Operations mine geology background a key in both Open Pit and Underground




University unit suggestions

Core subjects
structural geology
sedimentology (if considering petroleum/coal)
mineral identification
economic geology
Specialty subjects


Statutory Requirements

Competent person for reporting to ASX is required to have at least five years’ experience in the commodity and activities engaged in (generally recognised by membership level of AIG as a minimum requirement).
Transitioning to Full Member

Full members of the AIG can sign off on ASX reports given that they have sufficient experience to satisfy the “competent person” designation (under the JORC Code 2012) for the commodity and information on which they are reporting.  A Graduate Member can transition to Full Membership once they have achieved a minimum of five years relevant experience.

The JORC Code states that “a Competent Person must have a minimum of five years relevant experience in the style of mineralisation or type of deposit under consideration and in the activity which that person in undertaking”. Further information can be obtained from the JORC website and copies of the code can be downloaded.


Job Opportunities

ASX Listed mid-tier Explorers, Mining companies and in particular specialist consulting organisations. Peripheral areas of employment are junior exploration companies and software developers.





Residential/Lifestyle Options
  • More likely based in capital city or regional centre (e.g Kalgoorlie, Mt Isa, Orange, Bendigo) with work areas either locally or remote
  • Often involves majority of time in office with irregular trips to site to review data collection/site parameters

Pros & Cons

  • Opportunities for travel, domestic and international
  • Varied work programs
  • Multi skilling and multi-disciplinary teamwork required
  • Consulting enables highly varied exposure to many different companies/mines/locations


  • Early career stage requires good exposure to multiple geological settings/mines
  • Working in operational environments requires hard work and willingness to adapt to requirements. Development of all required skill sets takes time
  • Necessary to have high level computer skills including geostatistical knowledge
  • In more senior roles, high levels of management and responsibility including safety, consulting roles can be repetitive
  • Commonly need to complete post graduate study


Do you work a regular length day/week?

Resource Geoscientists often are based in major cities and travel to their work sites when field inspections are required. When they are working in the city office they would work a regular day/week. When they are carrying out field work they may work on a roster or on a campaign basis and this may involve longer work days and/or shift work.

How much time do you spend away from home base?

Field site inspections are generally required however the Resource Geoscientist is there to review the geology, methodologies and data collection practices of the geoscientists on site.  These reviews on site  are generally a small proportion of the overall task but time on site can vary depending on the standards in place and parameters of the project.

How do I get into Resource Estimation once I have some experience?

Resource Geoscientists commonly come from a Mine Geology role with a number of years of experience becoming an expert in a mining software package and its application. The Mine Geologist needs to generate grade control models on a regular basis and have  a high level of software skills.  A post graduate geostatistics course is a key to having recognition that you understand the estimation methodologies.

Do you just work in one commodity?

Generally Resource Geoscientists work in a wide range of commodities/companies/mines and locations. Often the Resource Geoscientist may become a specialist in a particular commodity after working in that commodity or deposit style for several years.

Are there opportunities to work overseas?

Yes, mineral exploration and development is active on all the continents (except Antartica) and Australian geoscientists have a good reputation in this field. Factors that may influence where Resource Geoscientists may work are the commodity of interest and also any language skills the person may have (French is widely used in Canada and Africa, Spanish and Portuguese in South America).

Should I  do science at school?

Yes, a solid grounding of mathematics and science (in particular chemistry and physics) is important for all areas of geoscience practice. If Geology/Earth Science is available at school level it is highly recommended.

Do I need to be physically fit?

Working as a geoscientist can be physically demanding.  Field work generally involves various physical activities particularly in remote areas. Whether it be walking to get to a site, mapping, collecting and carrying samples, working around drill site or working from 4WD vehicles or helicopters a good level of fitness is generally required.

As a geoscientist do you work with new technology?

Geoscience is often at the cutting edge of new technology.  Many of the current gaming platforms were developed from 3D computing technology developed within the mining industry. New technologies are constantly being used and developed within the geoscience professions to enhance our knowledge of the earth. Modelling techniques, visualisation and the use of mobile technology are widely used.


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