AIG News 125 is available now!

The latest edition of AIG News, the Australian Institute of Geoscientists member newsletter is now available in full colour and digital format and best of all FREE for all readers!

Now all AIG Members and Non Members can enjoy our FREE AIG Newsletter in digital format, including all previous editions. Please click here to see our archive of AIG News.


Download the latest copy of AIG News 125 below:

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Inside this latest issue…

aig_news_124_pagesrom Your President: Green Shoots; Institute News; Membership Updates; Registered Professional Geoscientists Applications; AIG Postgraduate Bursary 2015 Report – Goldschmidt 2016; Part Two of Three Part Series: What the industry wants: Results from the AIG National Graduate Group Geoscience Survey; Results from the 2016 Geoscience Industry Skills Survey; A Geological Explanation for the Phenomenon of the Min Min Light; Reporting Exploration Results and Mineral Resources for lithium mineralised pegmatites; AIG Queensland Mentoring Kick-off 28 July 2016; John Campbell Miles Medal; Hunter Valley Geologist Homeward Bound for Antarctica; First light at the end of a very long jobless tunnel for Australia’s geos?; Central NSW Field Trip 2016 – 24th June – 1st July; 2: Hydrogeological Wonder of the World – The Microbialites of Southwest WA; Events Calendar; And much more…


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We hope that you enjoy the latest AIG News and welcome your feedback.


An Introduction to Ground Penetrating Radar

ASEG LogoA short course to be presented Dr. Jan Francke
Friday 23 September 2016, 1:00 pm for 5:00 pm
City West Function Centre, 45 Plaistowe Mews, West Perth WA 6005
$35 registration cost.  (Registration from 12:30.  Drinks and nibbles 5 – 6 pm)

Thanks to our sponsors Core Geophysics and Groundradar Inc. for assisting in keeping the price down.

Although a recent addition to the geophysicist’s toolbox, ground penetrating radar (GPR) is now a well-established geophysical method in Australia.  Dozens of systems are deployed daily throughout the region, mainly for civil infrastructure projects.  In addition to being one of the easiest geophysical tools with which to collect data, it is also perhaps the most misinterpreted and oversold method.

The concept of radar imaging of the subsurface is not new, with the principles having been well established over the last century.  Technological advances in GPR technology have enabled deeper and faster imaging of larger areas with higher resolution.  The workshop will begin by introducing the history of GPR along with general EM theory.  The content covers various types of GPR instruments, suitable survey environments, along with interpretation and modelling pitfalls.

The overall focus of the workshop will be on managing expectations with regards to GPR resolution and penetration, including examinations of several case studies from the region.  Recently, claims have been made of exceptional performance by devices which seemingly are outside of the bounds of physics.  These technologies will be examined and example data discussed, within the context of scientific principles.

The workshop will be led by Dr. Jan Francke, who has worked exclusively with long-range GPR technologies for 25 years in 85 countries.  His experience spans thousands of projects in environments ranging from Arctic Sweden to southern Chile.  He conducts numerous workshops every year on GPR applications in a non-academic format, relying on real-world examples rather than complex mathematical modelling and theory.


Dr. Francke is amongst the most experienced users of ground penetrating radar in the world, having spent his entire 25-year career working with deep GPR applications.  He holds a BSc from the University of British Columbia, an MSc from the University of Canterbury, and a PhD from Kings College London, all focusing on mineral exploration applications of GPR.  His field experience includes GPR projects in over 85 countries on six continents.  He has authored dozens of papers on the applications GPR to mining and geotechnical problems, and conducted numerous workshops teaching GPR principles and managing expectations on realistic GPR performance.

Please register by 21 September via the ASEG web site.

Geoscientist Employment and Commodity Prices

Employment levels for Australian geoscientists are highly leveraged to the prevailing commodity price. The Australian Institute of Geoscientists has been surveying its member’s employment levels since the start of the year 2009. It is currently the longest, continuous employment survey of its kind. With eight years of data, it is now possible to gain insights into how leveraged geoscientist employment is to fluctuations in the commodity price. The Reserve Bank of Australia (‘RBA’) publishes a monthly index of commodity prices [1],  relative to their importance to the Australian economy.

Figure 1 shows that when comparing the AIG employment and RBA  data, they are highly correlated (~84% in Australian ‘AUD’, and 86% in United States dollar ‘USD’ terms).  The data suggests that employers react very quickly to changes in the commodity price, and there is no strong evidence to suggest that there is a lag effect between movements in the commodity price and full time employment.

By rebasing the data to the conditions as at 30 June 2016 (Figure 2), it is evident the amplitude of the geoscientist employment is muted compared to the commodity price variation. However, the current unemployment rate of 15.9% is very high relative Austalia’s overall unemployment rate of 5.7%[2], before taking into account the additional 20.2% underemployed geoscientists.

The June quarter, 2016 AIG survey results show a small improvement in geoscientist employment levels. The RBA commodity price index also improved over that quarter. Since the end of June 2016, the commodity prices have continued to increase by 6% in USD and 3% in AUD terms.

The ability to quantify and analyse employment levels is important to managing the future needs of the geoscience sector. Consequently, the long standing nature of the AIG’s survey is very useful. Importantly, the AIG’s persistence in maintaining the surveys throughout periods of high- employement provide invaluable context and integrity to any analyses.


Jonathon Bell MAIG
Alexander Research, Perth WA

First Australian Exploration Geoscience Conference, Sydney, February 2018

AIG is proud to be joining the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (ASEG) and the Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia (PESA) to present what will become a regular event on the Australian geoscience calendar, showcasing exploration geoscience in Australia.


Mark these dates in your diary now and watch the web site and events calendar for updates.

Click here for a flyer for your office noticeboard or to pass on to friends and colleagues.


20th Annual Survey of Exploration and Mining Companies





The Fraser Institute’s 20th annual survey of mining companies has commenced.  Collection of data will continue until Friday November 4th, 2016. 

The data collected will allow the survey team to identify those provinces, states, and countries that pose the greatest barriers to investment in the mining sector, as well as the reasons underlying any significant shifts in the jurisdictional rankings from a year ago.

The report on the findings of last year’s survey, Survey of Mining Companies 2015, can be downloaded here.

AIG members are invited to participate in the 2016 survey.  Greater participation will help to ensure that the results reflect the views of professionals with first-hand knowledge of the mining investment climate in countries around the globe.  Broad involvement in the survey will also increase the number of jurisdictions evaluated, thereby providing more governments with candid and anonymous opinions on their mining policies.

The survey in past years has provided a comparison of the ability of Australian states to compete for exploration and mining investment compared with other mining jurisdictions globally.

The survey can be completed in less than 15 minutes. All information collected through the survey remains confidential.

Executives, managers, and other experts with mining exploration and development companies, and their advisors, are asked to complete the 2016 survey questionnaire with respect to jurisdictions about which they are knowledgeable.

For more information, or to participate in the survey, contact Taylor Jackson, Senior Policy Analyst at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, Canada.