Careers in Geoscience: Coal Exploration
Coal exploration geologists are employed by various organisations working within the coal industry. They are responsible for identifying and assessing the location, quality and size of coal deposits within exploration permits for Coal. Their work can be office based, although fieldwork is necessary, including field mapping, drilling and sampling from drill core. Coal exploration geologists generally work for publicly listed mining and exploration companies although there are some private companies in the sector.
Coal exploration aims to locate coal deposits for underground or open-cut coal development, generally located in coal producing basins in QLD (Bowen, Galilee and Surat), NSW (Sydney).
Typical duties include:
- Compilation and analysis of historical data including geophysics, field mapping, coal quality and drilling
- Target generation based on available data
- Planning exploration programs to test targets generated
- Assist in collection of samples in the field, including:
- geophysical data - 2D/3D seismic, gravity and magnetic surveys
- field mapping data – lithology data, strike/dip, structure
- chip samples – lithology data, proximate analysis
- core samples – lithology data, geotechnical analysis
- Coal Quality samples – Coal quality data
- Analysing geological data using specialist computer applications, modelling data in 2D and 3D
- Reporting to management, state authorities and/or shareholders (ASX)
- Advising managerial, technical and engineering on the development of projects.
The job carries a high level of responsibility, as the employee must ensure the accuracy of information and forecasts – initiating extraction processes is often very expensive and mistakes can be costly. Consequently, training is an important feature of the job.
Typical skills required are:
- Knowledge of a range of sciences and their applications
- Ability to work within a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers
- Good organisational skills
- Computer literacy and ability to analyse numerical and graphical data
- Good written and verbal communication skills
- Geological mapping, rock recognition, structural geology, knowledge of geophysics, GIS, practical.