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New Isotopic Facilities at JCU

New isotope analysis facilities are amongst the capabilities of a new geologic clean laboratory at James Cook University.

This particle-controlled environment is used for preparation of geologic samples for analysis on the Neptune multiple collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (MC-ICP-MS) housed in the JCU advanced analytical center. The ability to chemically separate and concentrate elements of interest allows for determination of precise and/or low abundance isotopic ratios in a wide variety of samples.

Dr. Christa Placzek preparing samples for analysis of U isotopes in  the new clean lab at JCU

Dr. Christa Placzek preparing samples for analysis of U isotopes in the new clean lab at JCU

In addition to a clean room environment, the lab features several specialized fume hoods that allow for complete digestion of silicate rocks. This lab is currently supporting projects spanning the geologic sciences, marine sciences, environmental science and archaeology and has already processed samples from six continents.

The lab is capable of high-precision determination of U-Th ages, as well as ratios of 87Sr/86Sr, 234U/238U, and 235U/238U.

For further information contact: Dr. Christa Placzek

From the August 2014 Economic Geology Research Unit (EGRU) newsletter, James Cook University, Townsville

Drilling for Geology

The Queensland branch of the AIG together with the Australian Drilling Industry Association (ADIA) teamed up to present the latest Queensland Friday Seminar titled Drilling for Geology, on 1 August in Brisbane.

The seminar comprised twelve excellent talks that were split into three seminar themes i.e. planning and design considerations, drilling and related activities, and post-drilling issues. AIG and ADIA were pleased to have Drillpower Qld as the seminar sponsor, who brought a truck mounted multipurpose drill rig to the seminar for inspection by delegates over the lunch break. In addition, AMC Drilling Fluids and Products, Reflex Instruments, and CSIRO/Deep Exploration Technologies CRC all brought equipment for display and interaction by attendees.

A drillpower rig on display at the Drilling for Geology seminar in Brisbane recently

A drillpower rig on display at the Drilling for Geology seminar in Brisbane recently

In Session 1 (planning and design considerations), there were three talks. Wes Nichols presented on the role and responsibility of a Senior Site Executive (SSE) in the context of managing a drilling programme in Qld. Gerry Harth provided an overview of drillhole planning and design issues from a Qld government perspective, and Julius Marinelli talked about the development of leading practice drill pad designs.

In Sessions 2 and 3 (drilling and related activities), six presentations covered various aspects of the drilling process. Hannah Dwayne provided an overview of drilling methods used in the minerals industry. Bron Smolski talked about drilling for hydrogeology applications and Brent Delany focused on coal drilling. Stuart Addinell then presented the status of current research for developing a new water-powered percussion drilling method for deep drilling applications. Angus Forbes gave an educational talk on the types of drilling fluids and additives available, and this theme concluded with a presentation by Luke Hudson on down-hole survey systems and XRF analysis tools.

Session 4 dealt with post-drilling issues. Glenn Pears presented a talk on the use of down-hole rock properties in geological and geophysical interpretation. David Green gave an update on the CoalLog project being funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) to improve the collection of coal borehole data. The final talk was given by Mark Berry looking at the importance of collecting accurate measurements of drill core recovery and percussion chip recovery and moisture for resource estimation purposes.

55 participants enjoyed an informative seminar

55 participants enjoyed an informative seminar

In all, fifty five participants comprising tertiary students, graduates and geologists with over 20 years experience attended the seminar and reported that it was a valuable professional development experience. All of the presentations have been uploaded to the AIG website for reference purposes.

This summary was prepared by the seminar organising committee of Melissa (Mell) Greenall from the ADIA, and Clem Hill and Mark Berry from Queensland AIG.

Hale / St Mary’s Careers Expo

Recently the WA branches of AIG & ASEG participated in the annual Hale / St Mary’s Careers Expo. The night was well attended with exhibitors from local universities and various sectors including finance, hospitality, medicine, real estate, law, health, police, and GEOSCIENCE!

This year marked our third year at the event and although it was a stormy night, many students benefitted from the displays and advice given by the exhibitors.

AIG Councillor Heather Carey and Jocelyn Thomson speaking with students at the AIG stand.

AIG Councillor Heather Carey and Jocelyn Thomson speaking with students at the AIG stand.

ASEG WA committee member Javad Khoshnavaz manning the ASEG stand at the expo.

ASEG WA committee member Javad Khoshnavaz manning the ASEG stand at the expo.

We look forward to an ongoing presence at career events like these, which give us the opportunity to encourage students to study math and science!

AusIMM Monograph 30 Roadshow

AusIMM Mono30 GraphicThe AusIMM Geoscience Society, in collaboration with the JORC Committee and the AIG are hosting an AusIMM Monograph 30 Roadshow – Good Practice in Resources and Reserve Estimation roadshow, throughout Australia and New Zealand during October and November.

aig_cdphrs02_7Seminars will be held in:

  • Kalgoorlie, Tuesday 28 October 2014
  • Perth, Thursday 30 October 2014
  • Brisbane, Thursday 6 November 2014
  • Wellington, Thursday 27 November

A selection of papers from Monograph 30 will be presented at each seminar, covering a range of locally applicable Resource and Reserve estimation and reporting issues.

The program will allow significant opportunity for practitioners to discuss their issues and perspectives on the topics of good practice in estimation and reporting in an open forum during each session of the day’s program.

Roadshow Themes include:

  • The Resource Database
  • Geological Interpretation and Modelling
  • Resource Estimation
  • The Modifying Factors
  • Reserve Estimation
  • Risk in Estimation
  • Production and Reconciliation
  • Classification and Reporting
  • Current issues in JORC 2012 Reporting

Registrations for the roadshow are now open.  For more information visit the roadshow website, or refer to the roadshow flier.

Retaining Young Professionals in Mining

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current young professionals work group (up to age 35), commonly referred to as “millennials” or “Gen Y’ers”, spends an average of 1.8 years in a job before moving on. At any one time, 60% of this group are looking for new career opportunities while still employed.

Career and lifestyle aspirations are even more important to them than pay or their relationship with their managers. In addition, millennials do not need to be highly dissatisfied with their current job to make a change. If something more attractive comes across their radar screen, in the way of career advancement or lifestyle aspirations, they will leap, regardless of how long they have been with their current employer.

Many companies are confused about how to successfully attract, engage, and retain millennial employees for long enough to train them to take over from aging “boomers”. However, some “early adopter” companies seem to be getting it right by creating a work environment that promotes flexible work-life arrangements and offers career support to address just these issues. Career support in this context includes leadership development, career planning and mentoring.

A cost-effective way for mining companies to provide this type of career support is through the availability of appropriate elearning. Some mining companies already provide elearning as on-demand online courses that can be taken at the employee’s initiative; others provide it as structured programs of online courses with more clearly defined training objectives. Either way, the results can satisfy both employee and corporate requirements.

From the employee point of view, provided the selection of courses is sufficiently large and the quality is acceptable, the benefits include career development, satisfaction of CPD (continuing professional development) obligations and, if the courses are accredited, accumulation of credit towards university programs.

From the corporate point of view, the benefits include improved employee retention, employee knowledge and skills development, and achievement of corporate training objectives.

For more on the topic of employee retention through provision of career support see Stop the Gen Y Revolving Door (B.L. Ware (2014)).

AIG members have access to a dedicated Edumine campus that provides access to the full-range of e-learning resources that Edumine offers.  For more information visit the Edumine Campus page of the AIG web site.  Edumine Campus enrollment is managed through the AIG membership portal.

Simon HouldingSimon Houlding
Vice President Professional Development, InfoMine Inc., Vancouver CA.

Simon is responsible for EduMine, the professional development division which provides learning and training programs to the global mining industry. He is a practicing professional engineer and author.

This article was originally published on the Infomine web site www.infomine.com and appears here with permission.