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2014 Annual General Meeting – Election of Councilors

The 2014 AGM was held in Brisbane 8th April 2014.  Seven nominations were received for the eight vacant Council positions leading to the nominees being elected unopposed.

We welcome two new councillors:

  • Katarina David (NSW); and,
  • Adrian Diaz (Qld);

along with five returning councillors:

  • Ian Neuss (NSW)
  • Mike Erceg (Qld)
  • Steve Sugden (WA)
  • Anne Tomlinson (WA)
  • Graham Teale (SA)

The new and returning councillors join the following continuing councillors to form the 2014-15 AIG Council:

  • Heather Carey (WA)
  • Wayne Spilsbury (WA)
  • Jonathan Bell (WA)
  • Martin Robinson (Vic)
  • Andrew Waltho (Qld)
  • Kaylene Camuti (Qld)

Welcome to all this year’s councillors and looking forward to an enjoyable and productive year ahead.

Two long-serving councillors stepped down at this AGM:

  • Doug Young (Qld)
  • Michael Edwards (NSW)

Doug and Michael have been highly valued members of AIG Council and they will be missed.  Doug has served as an AIG Councillor for over ten years, for many of those years as the Chair of the Membership Committee and a member of the Education Committee. Doug has long been an advocate of increasing the involvement of Graduate members in the AIG and has been instrumental in setting up the new Graduate Committee.

Michael has also been an AIG Councillor for several years, much of that time as the Chair of the Ethics and Standards Committee, while also the Chair of the NSW state branch committee. Michael has played a critical role in helping AIG expand its professional networks and technical training opportunities so we’ve become better positioned to provide services to our broader membership.

While Doug and Michael may be stepping down as councillors, we will continue to benefit from their skills and commitment. Doug will be continuing as a member of the AIG Education Committee and the Queensland State Branch committee, and Michael will continue in his role as Chair of the Ethics and Standards Committee and NSW State Branch committee.

Kaylene Camuti
9th April 2014

2014 President’s Report

The AIG President’s report for 2014 was presented to members attending this year’s Annual General Meeting, held in Brisbane 8th April 2014.

This last year has been a very busy and productive period for the AIG. We have seen continuing membership growth, a major upgrading of our administrative support and infrastructure, an increased diversity of technical events, and a growing role for the AIG in representing members’ interests in the wider community.

AIG membership continued to grow in 2013 and by the end of the year membership was approaching 2900. As membership continued to grow AIG Council recognised the need to upgrade the management of core AIG operations to provide more efficient service delivery, improve communication with members, and reduce the workload on the volunteers who make up AIG Council and its subcommittees. In response to this need, in 2013 the AIG worked towards:

  • The launch of a new web site which will be integrated with an online facility for membership applications and processing of membership renewals.
  • Initiation of an online events management system to streamline registration and payment processing for AIG events.
  • Integration of member mailing lists to facilitate the updating of member contact details.
  • The introduction of a new AIG logo, following a tender and consultation process.
  • A review and update of AIG News.
  • Appointment of a part-time Executive Officer to assist AIG Council, the Registration Board and subcommittees.

The success of all of these initiatives relies on the dedication of much time and thought from many people. I would like to acknowledge, in particular, Anne Tomlinson and Andrew Waltho (AIG Councillors), Lynn Vigar (AIG Executive Officer), Fiona Makin and Wency Luong (Makinitezy IT Services), and Peter Lewis (AIG NSW Branch) for their commitment and contributions.

Additional initiatives launched during the last year included:

  • A new insurance program for AIG Members, offering professional indemnity and public liability coverage customized for geoscientists.
  • The formation of a National Graduate Committee of early career geoscientists to focus on the issues and concerns relevant to AIG Graduate Members. This committee will have its inaugural meeting in Bendigo in June this year, in conjunction with the AIG Council Strategic Planning Meeting.

Throughout last year the AIG also continued to run regular surveys of members and the wider geoscience community to monitor the employment environment for geoscientists. The surveys showed rapidly increasing rates of unemployment and underemployment, and a potential loss of trained and knowledgeable people from the profession. These results were regularly communicated to the wider community to highlight the importance of geoscience to Australia’s scientific and economic future and to stress the risks posed by the loss of geoscience skills.

The AIG also participated in discussions and debates about issues that affect the interests of members. In the last year AIG contributed submissions to:

  • The Consultation on Reform to Deductions for Education Expenses
  • The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Non-Financial Barriers to Mineral and Energy Resource Exploration
  • The UNCOVER survey on future directions for exploration geoscience research.

At the same time, the state branch committees were organizing conferences, workshops and social events for members, including:

  • The East Asia Geology, Exploration Technologies and Mines Conference, held in Bali in May.
  • The 2013 Mines & Wines Conference, held in Orange in September.
  • A series of seminars around Australia on the JORC 2012 Code, held in collaboration with the ASX and the other JORC parent bodies.
  • Numerous one and two-day seminars on a wide range of topics.
  • Career and information events for secondary and tertiary students.
  • Community education and outreach activities, including a booth at the annual Brisbane Show.

Many of the AIG technical presentations are now available to members online, and state branches and Council will continue to increase the amount and diversity of material available to all members.

Members of AIG Council and state branch committees also continued to contribute to ongoing AIG activities, including:

  • Supporting students through the national AIG Bursary Program and through state-based student support initiatives such as travel scholarships and student career events.
  • Representing AIG on several national and international boards and committees, including the:
    • JORC Committee
    • VALMIN Committee
    • Australian Geoscience Council
    • Teacher Earth Science Advisory Board (TESEP)
    • National Rock Garden Committee
    • GSA Geotourism Committee
    • IUGS Global Professionalism Task Group

Although the last year has been very productive, there are still outstanding issues to address. The AIG needs to continue to improve knowledge of members’ professional interests and fields of practice, so as to better target training and professional development opportunities. And a long-term aim of the AIG has been the development of technical specialist groups in fields of geoscience practice. There has been little progress on this to date, but to achieve this aim we need the input and assistance of members in specialist fields, to contribute the ideas and initiatives that will drive this development.

It is pleasing to report that the AIG remains in a healthy financial position. While the increasing role of the AIG in the wider community, its involvement in geoscience education activities at all levels, and in representing the interests of members to government and to relevant national and international bodies, do add to the ongoing costs of running the Institute, we strive to ensure these costs are covered by the annual membership fees. And while the current upgrade of administration infrastructure has incurred set-up costs, the return of surplus funds from the 2012 IGC has provided a valuable and timely addition to reserves to help cover these ad hoc expenses.

?The annual report to members is a good time to remind ourselves that the AIG operates largely due to the contributions of many enthusiastic and committed people across Australia who give substantial amounts of their time. The professionalism and skills of the people who make up this network means it is sometimes easy to forget these are members who volunteer, and who make time to support the AIG in their busy personal and professional lives. This is an opportunity to acknowledge and thank the volunteers and others who provide the support and drive that is critical to the continuing growth of the AIG. Thank you to councillors and committee members, AIG members, education donors and sponsors, contract support professionals, and secretariat staff for all your contributions over the past year.

This is also the time of year when we say thank you to those councillors who are stepping down from AIG Council this year – Doug Young and Michael Edwards. Doug has served as an AIG Councillor for over ten years, for many of those years as the Chair of the Membership Committee and a member of the Education Committee, and at all times contributing knowledge and skills. Doug has long been an advocate of increasing the inclusion of, and input from, AIG’s graduate members and has been instrumental in setting up the new Graduate Committee (in fact, the committee was his idea). Michael has also been an AIG Councillor for several years, much of that time as the Chair of the Ethics and Standards Committee (an unsung but vital role), while also the Chair of the NSW state branch committee. Michael’s contributions have been critical in helping AIG expand its professional networks and technical training opportunities so we’ve become better positioned to provide services to our broader membership. Doug and Michael have been highly valued members of AIG Council and they will be missed. However, the AIG will still benefit from their knowledge and commitment. Doug will be continuing as a member of the AIG Education Committee and the Queensland state branch committee, and Michael will continue in his role as Chair of the Ethics and Standards Committee and with his involvement in the NSW state branch committee.

Kaylene Camuti
President
April 2014

A copy of the President’s report is available for download here.  

Review of the Australian Guidelines for the Estimation and Classification of Coal Resources

Information regarding the review of the Australian Guidelines for the Estimation and Classification of Coal Resources (coal guidelines) has been previously posted on this forum and the AIG web site. A consultation draft is available for public comment until 7 May.

Are the continued use of the guidelines either necessary or beneficial?

The coal guidelines, arguably, have been made redundant by improvements in the transparency and materiality of public statements of exploration results, resources and reserves in JORC 2012 which provides a uniform basis for disclosure of relevant information for all commodities.

Its difficult to see any aspect of coal exploration result, resource or reserves reporting that requires the imposition of commodity specific provisions.

There are no comparable, specific provisions contemplated for other commodities.

Australian companies, investors and resource and reserve practitioners would benefit from a single, comprehensive standard for exploration result, resource and reserve reporting that JORC 2012 provides.

The proposition that the guidelines are required to establish a definition for Inventory Coal difficult to justify as being either critical or beneficial.  Inventory coal cannot be reported publicly. It is estimated for internal company purposes (where companies will have suitable internal classification and reporting standards) and for non-public reporting to governments where the individual authorities involved should set required standards.

The recommended maximum spacings for points of observation applicable to different resource and reserve categories specified in the guidelines are arbitrary, have been historically misused as standards for resource classification and conflict with the role and responsibilities of Competent Persons to both make and fully justify their decisions in this regard.

The 2012 JORC Code, overall, provides a much improved basis for public reporting that is equally applicable to all commodities and, consequently, provides a consistent standard that Australian industry should embrace.

What’s your view?  You can add a comment here or via the AIG Linkedin Group.  AIG will be making a submission to the review of the guidelines incorporating feedback received from members.

Andrew Waltho

Use of Incidental Coal Seam Gas

The Queensland Government has released an industry White Paper to consult on proposed legislation covering the incidental use of coal seam gas associated with coal mining.

Industry has identified that the current restrictions on the use of incidental coal seam gas (ICSG) prevent more efficient use of this valuable resource. The use of ICSG by the holder of a coal mining lease has also been addressed by the industry White Paper. This is to provide for the use of ICSG by the holder of a coal mining lease where it overlaps a petroleum lease, subject to the mining lease holder satisfying the certain requirements under the new coal and CSG overlapping tenure framework.

Currently, section 318CN of the MRA limits the use of ICSG mined within the area of a mining lease for:

  • beneficial use for mining within the area of that mining lease;
  • transporting or storing within the area of that mining lease to allow it to be used beneficially; or;
  • giving it to an overlapping petroleum lease holder.

Under current section 318CO, where ICSG cannot be used beneficially and there is no overlapping petroleum lease (or the holder of an overlapping petroleum authority has rejected the gas), it may be flared or vented (subject to conditions).

The draft legislation proposes new uses of ICSG by the holder of a coal mining lease, not only when the new coal and CSG overlapping scheme has been satisfied, but also when there is not an overlapping petroleum authority. While in many cases, there is likely to be an overlapping petroleum authority, it is timely to consider both situations in light of the changes proposed under the White Paper.

The proposed changes also support the implementation of the ICSG principles of the White Paper in that ICSG may be commercialised by a mining lease holder after the requirements of the overlapping scheme for coal and CSG have been met.

Therefore, the following uses of ICSG by a coal miner are proposed (after first satisfying the overlapping scheme if required):

  • ICSG may be used beneficially within the area of the mining lease or on other mining operations held by the same holder. This may include uses such as power generation for equipment used for any mining or heating.
  • Transport ICSG from one or more mining leases across lease boundaries (including where leases are not contiguous). Any approvals under other applicable legislation would be first required e.g. pipeline licence under the P&G Act.
  • Store ICSG within the area of a mining lease or in the area of another mining operation to allow it to be used for any of the above purposes.
  • Commercialise ICSG by selling it to another party, as would be possible by a petroleum lease holder. This may include the sale of the gas to other mining or petroleum operations where it may be used beneficially.
  • ICSG may be transported to a central power generation facility. The electricity generated may be used beneficially or commercialised. Use or sale of electricity generated is only allowable if any necessary approvals are obtained under other applicable legislation e.g. Electricity Act 1994.
  • Flare or vent the gas if it is not commercially or technically feasible to use the ICSG beneficially or commercially.

It is not intended for the changes to directly authorise storage or transportation of ICSG on other resource authorities without any necessary approvals, unless that authority already expressly authorises the activity (e.g. another mining lease). For example, it is not intended that a holder of an exploration permit for coal could construct a pipeline to transport ICSG without necessary approvals under the P&G Act.

Allowing a coal miner to commercialise ICSG or use it beneficially within projects (after satisfying the coal and CSG overlapping scheme requirements if required) provides an opportunity for this genuine resource to be used rather than being flared or vented. The benefits of this proposal include the following:

  • protects economic benefits to the State and regional communities by supporting the viability of existing coal mines to reduce costs by finding more efficient uses of ICSG.
  • encourages future investment in the State by providing an environment for industry to develop lower cost coal production
  • provides environmental benefits through encouragement of greenhouse gas abatement schemes and the use of less greenhouse gas intensive power generation (using ICSG rather than sourcing electricity from coal fired power generation).

Please note that the proposals outlined in this article are a work in progress by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines and have been released for consultation purposes.  Interested members should contact the Department to discuss the proposals or seek further information.

 

Dynamics of Continental Accretion

A letter published in Nature 508, 245-248 (10th April, 2014) by researchers at Monash University and the Geological Survey of Victoria on mathematical modelling of crustal elements involved in continental collision and subduction, can be applied to the understanding of the development of the Macquarie Arc and the evolution of the Tasmanides in SE Australia.

Subduction zones, where one plate dives under another, become congested when they try to accommodate buoyant, exotic crust. Louis Moresi et al. describe new numerical models of continental accretion that follow the entire process from the initial collision state, through a period of plate margin instability, to the re-establishment of a stable convergent margin. The models illustrate how significant curvature of the orogenic system develops, as well as the mechanism for tectonic escape of the back arc region.

The videos of a series of models help to visualise the Orocline Model developed by Ross Cayley and co-workers at the GSV in reconstructing the Lachlan Fold Belt.

You can read the abstract of the article and watch videos on http://bit.ly/1sYVPTC, or see videos uploaded by Professor Louis Moresi on You Tube athttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVulRP2tUGM (this video can be applied to the Lachlan if considered to be viewed from the north-west).