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Forensic Geology

IUGS has awarded a ‘Special Project’ to IFG called, ‘Forensic Geological Analysis of Crimes in International Mining, Minerals and Metals‘ This is expected to run from 2020 to 2022. This project seeks to evaluate the current global scale of crimes that take place in the mining, minerals and metals industry, and assess geological methodologies and strategies, which may aid in the detection, prevention, management and mitigation of these crimes.

In February 2020, two members of the IUGS-IFG Committee will visit Poland to assist with a new course including forensic geology at the University of Warsaw. This visit will also focus on the provision of geological advice on search, for the location of war graves associated with the Second World War.

IUGS-IFG have agreed to support a two-year project aimed at searching for the suspected graves of missing persons in Colombia. This will include the adoption of the Geoforensic Search Strategy, developed in the United Kingdom using a blend of geological and law enforcement search techniques and strategies. IUGS-IFG members will meet in Bogota in early March to arrange a timetable and programme.

The Geological Society of London has commenced the publication process of the book, ‘A Guide to Forensic Geology‘, which has been written by the IUGS Initiative on Forensic Geology. This has taken at least a decade to complete and the search chapter has evolved over the past 25 years. The publication is expected to be available later in 2020.

Geology of gold course 2020

Neil Phillips is in the process of updating the well received geology of gold course for 2020, and is seeking information on Chinese gold production.

  • is anyone able to help with annual production data broken down by province and, potentially, by mine? At present, the course uses a national gold production estimate of 400 to 450 tonnes per annum.
  • is anyone able to help with resource and reserve estimates for individual gold deposits in China that are supported by good geology and considered to be reliable? Gold Reserves were reported at 12,100 tonnes in 2016 but it is difficult to know whether these are “Proven” reserves, as would be reported in countries adhering to a CRIRSCO reporting code.

Anyone able to help, or direct Neil to a reliable source of information should contact him by email.

Pioneering WA Geoscience teacher named Western Australia local hero

Perth geoscientist Suzy Urbaniak has been recognised as the Western Australia local hero in this year’s Australian of the Year awards Ms Urbaniak pioneered taking geoscience out of the classroom into a hands-on, in-the-field experience – particularly for remote area schools.

The ‘Local Hero’ award acknowledges extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community – with Ms Urbaniak currently making significant inroads into science education in WA’s Pilbara region.

Suzy Urbaniak, Western Australia Local Hero in this year’s Australian of the TYear Awards. Image by scienceinpublic.com.au

Ms Urbaniak previously received the 2016 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools for her work in establishing and fostering a teaching program known as the Centre of Resources Excellence (CoRE).

CoRE encourages students to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to take on a variety of career pathways in science and engineering so that the classroom is treated more as a workplace where students can focus on evolving as young scientists.

The program has also had the additional benefit of further empowering science educators on outcomes that can be achieved by adopting a different approach to a fundamental and necessary skillset for future generations, industry and technologies which will be increasingly reliant on modern-era science breakthroughs and developments.

Ms Urbaniak said that CoRE is all about turning a classroom into a room full of young scientists, rather than students learning from textbooks.

“School and university textbooks teach theory but hands-on experience enables a student to get a real sense of inquiry, investigation and solution outcomes by better connecting the classroom environment directly with what is happening in the real world,” Ms Urbaniak said.

“Critically, the future Australian science and engineering workforce is sitting in our classrooms today.  

“CoRE is a philosophy, not just another STEM* program (* A term referring collectively to the teaching of the disciplines within its umbrella – science, technology, engineering and mathematics).  

“Education is not about passing tests – life is not an exam.

“The current education system is no longer working satisfactorily. There is an urgent need to change our education system because the future is already here. 

“At the end of the working life of the preschool class of 2020, these students will be seeing the beginning of the 22nd century. 

“But right now, industry, parents, students and teachers are demanding change.  

“0ur current 19th century model for education is not ready for that future as we have not yet prepared our educators, schools and communities to support these young people to thrive, not just survive that future.”

Ms Urbaniak said the CoRE learning philosophy mapped a practical pathway for real-world learning and practical solutions to this national challenge.

“Young people the world over are finding their voice, and are calling for our current teaching ranks to join them and be braver in navigating a rapidly changing world, rather than be paralysed by inaction,” she said.

“As educators, it is up to us to build future skills, attitudes and attributes in our students focused on practical real-world learning and to embrace creativity and challenges to fixed learning methodologies.”

The AGC’s Past-President, Dr Bill Shaw, said today Ms Urbaniak’s nomination had drawn attention to the need for those bedding down Australia’s future national education curricula to ensure the inclusion of good basic science in all future policy settings.

“Science and technology will empower societal growth in what will inevitably be an even more rapidly changing world in the future,” Dr Shaw said.

“Taking science learning into a more enriched, hands-on and self-responsible environment will attract more students to these exciting professions and help ensure Australia has the skillsets to play a major if not leading role in what will be increasingly seamless global industries, careers and professions.

The Australian Geoscience Council was amongst a number of prominent Australian scientists, learned and professional associations and institutes who congratulated Ms Urbaniak for her much deserved recognition through this latest award.

Ms Urbaniak is an AIG member and past chair of the Institute’s Western Australia branch.

16th SGA Biennial Meeting 2021 , Rotorua New Zealand

The 16th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA) will take place 15-18 November 2021 in Rotorua, New Zealand. 

The meeting will feature presentations on topics related to mineral deposit research, exploration, sustainable development and environmental and social aspects related to mineral deposits. The oral and poster presentation sessions, and pre- and post-conference short courses and field trips will provide a comprehensive programme.

The conference is organised by SGA with support from professionals in universities, research organisations, government, minerals industry, and service providers.

AIG is a supporter of the conference. AIG members may register for the SGA 2021 conference at the SGA member rate, a significant reduction in the conference registration fee.

Important Dates

  •  2 November 2020 – Call for Abstracts
  • 12 April 2021 – Online registration open
  • 3 May 2021 – Deadline for abstract submission
  • 1 September 2021 – Deadline for early bird registration
  • 15 November 2021 – 16th SGA Biennial Meeting

Visit the conference website for full details of the conference, to sign up for conference updates, explore sponsorship and exhibition opportunities and download a copy of the first circular.

   

   

Australia, US partnership on critical minerals formalised

Australia, US partnership on critical minerals formalised

Australia and the United States have formalised their partnership on developing both nations’ critical mineral assets, with a project agreement signed today by Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The signing paves the way for both nations to work more closely on understanding each country’s geological resource potential for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, and developing a pathway to supply arrangements.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said it was the beginning of a strong new partnership which would benefit both nations.

“This is a partnership that will deliver opportunity and security to both nations,” Minister Canavan said.

“Growing global demand for critical minerals means there is huge scope for Australia to develop secure and stable supply chains to meet the growing demand for critical minerals in key economies such as the US.

“The US has a need for critical minerals and Australia’s abundant supplies makes us a reliable and secure international supplier of a wide range of those, including rare earth elements.

“Today’s signing follows a wealth of work by the Liberal National Government to grow our potential in the critical minerals market, following the announcement of our critical mineral partnership with the US in early 2018.

“Almost 12 months ago Geoscience Australia and the USGS signed a wide-ranging Letter of Intent to formalise our collaboration on critical minerals.

“Our Critical Minerals Strategy was released earlier this year to coordinate activities across government, promote investment and deliver the necessary infrastructure to bring new critical minerals projects into production.

“And just last month we released our Critical Minerals Supply Chain in the United States report, which reinforces the importance of Australia continuing to attract investment in high-value activities such as processing and manufacturing. 

“Our partnership with the US also supports the goals of our National Resources Statement.”

The new agreement focuses on joint critical mineral potential mapping and quantitative mineral assessments, determining geological controls on critical mineral distribution, and developing data analytics capability to understand supply and demand scenarios for developing the critical minerals pipeline.

The knowledge gained from this collaboration will:

  • Improve both countries’ understanding of their geological resource potential for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, and contribute to a robust evidence base for global supply potential
  • Better identify and close critical minerals knowledge gaps in Australia’s critical minerals understanding
  • Help Australia understand future trends and match resource potential to international demand
  • Fast track innovation in the critical minerals sector, including development of online decision support tools with full data and decision process transparency.

Critical minerals are essential for the production of high-tech, aerospace, defence, renewable energy, agricultural, automotive and telecommunications technologies, and are found in everyday items such as lithium-ion batteries which power laptops and smartphones.

Senator the Hon Matt Canavan Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Media Release, 19 Nov 2019

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