Frank Arnott Award


Frank Arnott (1951 – 2009)

Innovation in Data Visualisation & Integration

The exploration industry faces the challenge of finding mineral deposits to support a global population expected to grow beyond 9 billion in 2050. Geoscience data is critical to exploration success, and yet increased expenditure on acquiring more data has not translated into higher discovery rates. Exploration organizations are therefore seeking to maximize the value of their existing data, and technology, to prioritize opportunities and select the best drill targets. As projects move deeper under cover, modern exploration scenarios require explorers to integrate and assess all available data, gain even greater insights and build improved exploration models. In recognition, that effective data integration and visualisation of our data sets remains one of our greatest challenges, we are hosting the Frank Arnott Award as a ‘collaborative’ challenge, focused on innovation in data integration and visualisation.

Frank Arnott was an exceptional exploration industry leader.  He championed innovative techniques that maximise the value of the multidisciplinary data that underpin modern exploration campaigns.

The award is a collaborative challenge that is open to both the exploration industry and academia.

Who can take this challenge?

Category 1 (Apprentice):

  • For under-graduates through to graduates with less than 5 years of industry experience.
  • May be an individual or a team collaboration (Team members must all be in this category, but can call on non-participating mentors with greater experience).

Category 2 (Experienced):

  • For post-graduates with greater than five years of industry experience.
  • May be an individual or a team collaboration (Team members must all be in this category).

Award contestants choose one (or more) of the five regional high quality datasets from around the globe to demonstrate innovation in visualisation and integration. These include:

  • Yukon Plateau: Epithermal Au, porphyry Cu terrain, YK, Canada
  • Quesnel Trough: Alkali porphyry Cu-Au Terrain, BC, Canada
  • Kevitsa: Layered ultramafic Ni-Cu-PGM deposit, Lapland, Finland
  • Broken Hill: Proterozoic Ag, Pb, Zn in intracratonic rift setting, NSW, Australia
  • Gawler Craton (Woomera Prohibited Area): Proterozoic IOCG, Au in multiple tectonic subdomains, SA, Australia

Other datasets may also be used to complement submissions for each of the areas where the regional geological surveys may have online access to historical data repositories.

Criteria by which entries will be judged are explained on the awards web site.  A four person panel including Australia’s Steve Hunt (JORC Committee Chairman) will judge entries.




For more information visit the Frank Arnott Award web site or download the flyer describing the award program.

Drilling for Geology II, 26-28 July 2017, Brisbane – Expressions of Interest

AIG is pleased to host the second instalment of its very successful Drilling for Geology conference held in 2008.

Drilling for Geology II will again focus on the collection and analysis of geoscientific information from drilling. From grassroots exploration through to mining operations, drilling is the prime method used for geological data collection and is often the biggest single cost centre for exploration and mine geology budgets.   The conference will comprise two days of technical sessions with a concurrent exhibition. The third day will comprise a series of half-day and full-day professional development workshops.

Expressions of interest are invited for:

  • Presentations.  Abstracts of less than 300 words in English are now invited and must address the conference themes. Abstracts should be submitted to Mark Berry by 30 September 2016.  An extended abstracts volume will be published and provided to all delegates.
  • Sponsors.  There will be a wide range of options available to meet all sponsorship budgets.
  • Exhibitors.  There will be provision for up to 30 booths to be held in conjunction with the first two days of the conference.
  • Professional development workshops.  Day 3 of the conference is devoted to professional development. Organisations are invited to run half-day and/or full day workshops providing delegates with a choice of a wide range of drilling-related courses.

Please contact Mark Berry for more information.  Click here for the conference flyer.

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

AMIRA International and UNCOVER announce commencement of Stage 2 of the Exploration Under Cover Roadmap.

uncover amira

Members of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists were actively involved in setting up of UNCOVER in 2010 by the Australian Academy of Science in consultation with the broader geoscience community. UNCOVER was developed to address the slowing discovery rate of major new mineral deposits despite increasing investment in mineral exploration.  Since inception the AIG have been strong and active supporters of this national and strategically important initiative.

Through UNCOVER’s consultative and collaborative activities from 2010 and AMIRA from 2014, the mining and exploration industry together with government and research communities supported Stage 1 of the AMIRA Roadmap for Exploration Under Cover.  Stage 1 of the roadmap resulted in the identification and prioritisation of new data, knowledge and technology required to deliver exploration success.

The second stage extends the effort undertaken in Stage 1 and will see a gap analysis completed and research and data capacity mapped. Programs will be scoped and costed and funding models for undertaking these research programs identified.

AMIRA is now seeking expressions of interest from the wider exploration community to be involved in Stage 2, to complete the Roadmap. To lodge an expression of interest to be involved please contact Adele Seymon at AMIRA International on the project webpage.

For more information on UNCOVER and to receive a copy of the Stage 1 Roadmap report from AMIRA please follow links.


The Cost of CCAs to the Exploration Industry in Queensland

At the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM)’s Digging Deeper 2016 Seminar recently, Simon Crouch of the Geological Survey of Queensland quoted figures of the benefit of Collaborative Drilling Initiative (CDI) drilling programs to the Queensland economy.

These figures did not include the economic stimulation of Conduct and Compensation Agreements (CCAs).

CDI grants are often awarded for areas of new exploration and, as such, the recipient exploration company is required to establish CCAs with the relevant landholders.

Exploration companies spend a considerable amount on negotiating CCAs (legal prerequisites to any exploration drilling programme in Queensland), yet this expenditure is not reportable under current Queensland regulations.

To present an example of the costs involved, a not atypical CCA for three drill sites for less than two weeks drilling took well over six months to negotiate and the landholder’s solicitor’s invoice exceeded the compensation retained by the landholder.  In this exploration campaign of just under $2 million reportable exploration expenditure which involved several landholders, the unreported cost of direct landholder negotiation was 7.5%  of the reportable exploration expenditure while the compensation payments (also unreported) were a further 3.7%.

So, had a CDI grant been received for this exploration program, departmental figures of the dollar benefit to the Queensland economy would have been 11.2% short of the real benefit.

This is one reason why I encourage the Department to consider including an item for CCA costs in the Annual Expenditure Statement submitted with Exploration Annual reports.

I would be interested in other AIG members thoughts on this matter, in particular whether such an expenditure item should be compulsory or voluntary.

Lucy Wittholz MAIG
Consultant Geologist

What’s your view?  Contribute to the discussion by posting a comment.