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PACRIM 2019: call for abstracts

PACRIM 2019 will be held in Auckland New Zealand, 3-5 April 2019 by AusIMM with the support of kindred societies and professional institutes.

The theme of the conference will be mineral systems of the Pacific rim.

This call for abstracts seeks the submission of practical and applied case studies for presentation at the Congress.

Please submit your abstract not exceeding 300 words via the speakers portal on the conference website, pacrim.ausimm.com 

The organising committee encourages collaborative works and urges young professionals and students to make submissions and participate in the extensive and technical networking opportunities this Congress will offer.

The Congress will also offer a series of workshops and field trips in New Zealand and the western Pacific for professional development, and a full social program for additional networking opportunities.

We welcome abstracts with a geophysics and multidisciplinary focus that fall under any of the Congress themes.  Further details regarding the conference are provided by the flyer, available here.

Ethics Update: Document management

Recent personal experience has highlighted the importance of every day document management for geoscientists working in industry or government.

The AIG Code of Ethics requires compliance with professional standards for balanced, material and transparent public reporting of exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves (the JORC Code) and valuation of mineral securities (the VALMIN Code).  These codes of practice invariably require production of reports.  But they are not the only activity that requires geoscientists to document interpretations and actions of geological data, or exercise judgement in the course of our work.  Commercial disputes or perceived non-compliance with corporations, privacy and other laws can result in work performed by geoscientists becoming legally discoverable in the course of preparing for court action.  It’s not just the Complaints o Ethics and Standards Committee to which we may need to demonstrate sound professional practice.

There are several measures that have proved to be useful in my experience.

  1. Include a date and version number in every report or substantive document documenting geoscientific judgement or compliance with statutory procedures.  Document versions need to be numbered sequentially and the date of the document should be updated in a manner consistent with document versions.  I condor it good practice to record both the date the document was originally produced, which remains fixed, and a date that the document was last updated, which demonstrates the time period over which the current version of the document evolved.  Something as simple as correcting typing warrants recording a document update with the document version number and date.
  2. Record work related to a project in a notebook.  It pays to use a seperate notebook for major projects that involve public reporting or other substantive work.  I prefer a bound notebook with numbered pages, from which pages can’t be removed without it being noticed.  Notebooks can be discoverable in legal cases, which means that you’ll lose it for the duration of the preparations and hearing of the case.  I stick to paper, but it may be that electronic notebooks nowadays, using software that retains note versions and dates them like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote is a good option.  The potential advantage of these is that discovery may not lead to loss of access to the data, and the notes can be accessed from multiple devices without compromising their integrity.  Keep your paper notebooks private.
  3. File your emails.  Keep everything in an organised, logical manner, even if you think the email is not consequential or significant.  Most email programs offer good, logical filing capabilities and create threads linking messages that are part of particular conversations.
  4. Keep your electronic and paper files, again, in a logical manner and make sure that they are secure.  Access controls and good backups are a must for all electronic data.  Backups must cover you in the event of theft or destruction of both a computer and the premises where it is used.  Cloud services are a good option.  Service providers look after the backup issue and data is stored off-site, but make sure that the terms of use offered by the provider do not compromise your ownership of your data, or permit the service provider to make use of it in any way, especially disclosure of data to third parties.

What is your experience?  Do you have additional experience and ideas that can contribute to good practice by others?  Leave a post on this page to continue the conversation.

Andrew Waltho
18 July 2018

Complaints Update

Code of Ethics and Complaints Process Review

A review of AIG’s Code of Ethics, Complaints and Ethics and Standards processes is nearing completion.

The review of AIG’s Code of Ethics and complaints process was initiated in April 2018.  Several, valuable submissions were received from members and considered during review.

Interim results were presented to the AIG Council at it’s recent, annual face to face meeting in Sydney, where several additional questions were raised.  Legal advice on these issues is currently being sought.  The review will result in changes to the Code of Ethics that will be presented to members for consideration and review by members at an extraordinary general meeting of the Institute by the end of 2018.  The changes will be designed to ensure that the Code of Ethics remains a viable set of principles, to support AIG’s role of maintaining demonstrably high standards of professional practice by members.

The revised Complaints and Ethics and Standards processes include a timeline for notification and review of complaints relating to practices of members.

Complaints Lodgement

Complaints relating to the professional conduct of AIG members may be lodged by any member of the public.  Complaints must be lodged in writing, by email to aig@aig.org.au or using the on-line form provided on the AIG website.  A description of the complaints process is also available on the website.

Complaints and Ethics and Standards Committees

Procedural fairness for members subject to a complaint is ensured by a two tiered complaints handling process, involving receipt and initial review of each complaint by the Complaints Committee that refers complaints considered to warrant detailed consideration and action by the Ethics and Standards Committee.  Disciplinary action against members is recommended by the Ethics and Standards Committee to the Institute Council.  Members have the ability of appealing Ethics and Standards decisions to the Council.

The Chairpersons of the Complaints and Ethics and Standards Committees are currently Andrew Waltho FAIG RPGeo and Michael Edwards MAIG RPGeo respectively.  The current chairpersons of all Council committees and subcommittees are published in each issue of AIG News.

Advice to Members

Two complaints have been received since the AIG AGM in May.

One complaint is currently being considered by the Ethics and Standards Committee.  The second resulted in the member being confidentially advised of an adverse finding in relation to compliance with the JORC Code (2012).

The announcement in which the member was nominated as the Competent Person included the following shortcomings:

  1. failure to observe the JORC Code’s underlying principles of materiality and transparency by not meeting minimum standards of disclosure for public reporting of mineral resource estimates provided by Table 1 in JORC (2012), including disclosure of information on an “if not, why not” basis.
  2. Use of JORC as a brand by using “JORC compliant” to describe the mineral resource statement, which is a breach of Clause 6 of the code and highlighted in Clause 6 as being potentially misleading.  The words “JORC compliant” must be used to refer to the manner of reporting, not to the estimate.
  3. Use of inappropriate rounding of the Mineral Resources, in breach of JORC (2012) Clause 25.  Reporting of grade and tonnage estimates must not imply unsupported confidence in the estimates that is inconsistent with uncertainty inherent in the estimates, geological interpretation and data on which they are based.
  4. Use of a competent person statement should follow the form of a statement presented in Appendix 3 of JORC (2012).  Neither AIG or AusIMM register Competent Persons (JORC 2012 Clause 9).  Competent Persons are Members or Fellows of AIG or AusIMM, or a recognised overseas professional organisation with a minimum of five year’s experience in the activity, commodity and style of information covered by the announcement.
  5. Use of the term “ore” in describing Mineral Resources, which is a breach of JORC (2012) Clause 28.
  6. Metal equivalents must not be included in a Resource statement without addressing JORC (2012) Clause 50 which, for polymetallic deposits, requires disclosure of material factors contributing to the net value presented by the metal equivalent.

The issues addressed in the complaint decision refer to JORC (2012) clauses 6, 9, 25, 28 and 50, Appendix 3 and Table 1.  

The member was advised to carefully review the announcement in relation to the relevant sections of the JORC Code (2012) to prevent recurrence of the identified shortcomings in future work as a Competent Person and given 14 days to submit an appeal relating to the Ethics and Standards Committee decision.

Review of the nominated sections of the JORC Code by all members acting as Competent Persons is recommended.

Andrew Waltho
Chair, Complaints Committee

Vale Pat Williams

AIG members are advised, with sadness, that Dr Patrick Williams passed away in the UK late last week, following a protracted illness.

Dr Williams (Pat) joined the staff at James Cook University (JCU) in 1989 and continued in a lecturing role until the amalgamation of Earth Science with TESAG around 2007 when he resigned to become a consultant.

He was a major contributor to the Key Centre in Economic Geology, the Predictive Mineral Discovery CRC and the Economic Geology Research Unit (EGRU) team  at JCU. He supervised and mentored  many honours and doctoral students during his academic career, and was much valued in that role. He was also much valued as an academic colleague by this who worked with him – always good council,  supportive of group activities and delivering of the tasks on his plate.

Pat is recognised by his colleagues for a major contribution to undergraduate teaching in mineralogy, petrology and economic geology. Pat developed a strong research interest in mineralization in the Mount Isa Inlier and became a widely acknowledged expert on IOCG deposits, an ongoing interest that he carried into his post-academic consulting life.

Dr Williams will be missed by the economic geology community in Australia and beyond, and his many friends in North Queensland.

Bob Henderson

What is continued professional development and why is it a good thing?

Graduation from university with an Earth science degree represented a major learning milestone that enabled you to begin your geoscience career.  It also represented the start of the next phase in your professional, technical and personal development through continuing development as a professional.

Continuing professional development, or CPD, is work-related learning that should continue throughout your career.  The year in which new professionals enter the workforce is usually a period of intense, on the job learning in a diverse range of areas such as field and mapping skills, sampling, core logging, managing contractors, landowner liaison and mining title management, to name but a few.  University studies provide an essential and solid grounding in geological principles, Earth systems, scientific method and research skills, which must be supplemented by a broad spectrum of new skills that are based on elements of these fields and represent workplace essentials.

In many professions, CPD forms an integral part of a licence to practice.  More professions require a managed and verifiable commitment to CPD than not.  The dominant reason for this this is the perception of public risk associated with practice of the profession in question.  Medical professionals, for example, may be called on to make decisions that could affect someone’s life.  Engineers design and build structures and machines that could create public safety risks or have profound economic consequence if they fail.  Teachers shape the character and skills of young people who will be the backbone of our society in future years.

Geoscientists have the privilege of being self-regulating.  There is no universal requirement for professional registration and licencing of geoscientists in Australia.  This does not, however, diminish the need for, and value of CPD.  It remains one of the key mechanisms by which high standards of professional practice and the relevance and currency of qualifications and experience are maintained.

CPD is frequently described as an investment for both individuals and employers as it involves maintaining enhancing and extending your knowledge expertise and competence.  It is central to the definition of professionalism recognised by the general public, where professionals strive to become leaders, knowledgeable, sources of advice and able to reliably solve problems in their chosen fields, which sets them apart from the rest of the pack.

Formal CPD falls into three broad categories:

  1. formal CPD;
  2. informal work-related CPD; and
  3. activities external to your work that contribute to your CPD.

CPD requires an investment of time, but the cost of CPD does not need to be onerous due to the range of activities that fall into the three categories above.

Join a discussion of CPD and professionalism on the AIG Linkedin Group.