Australian geoscientists recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

A number of prominent Australian geoscientists and minerals sector figures were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours announced this week.

Mr Philip Ernest BOCK 
Medal (OAM) in the General Division 
For service to geology, marine biology, and to the community.  Dr Bock has been an Honorary Researcher, Museums Victoria, since 1982,  a Member, International Bryozoology Association (IBA), Editor and Contributor, World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), and a Member, International Society for Reef Studies.  His career has included recognition of a previously undiscovered barnacle of Genus: Tetraclitella, in a sandstone block at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Courts, 2006.

Mr Paul Robertson ESPIE FAusIMM
Officer (AO) in the General Division
For distinguished service to the mining and infrastructure sectors through financial advisory roles, to public policy development and reform, and to not-for-profit organisations.  Mr Espie is a Director of Aurelia Metals Ltd, and was Chairman, Oxiana Limited, 2000-2003 and Chairman, Cobar Mines Pty Ltd, 1993.

Member (AM) in the General Division
For significant service to the mining industry, particularly through the promotion of greater gender diversity in the sector.  Ms Frater was Chair of the Women In Mining Network, 2008-2010 and a Member 2002-2015, involved with the establishment of Women in Mining and Resources Queensland, a former member of the Mining Mentoring Program, and is a co-founder and current member of Women in Mining NSW.  Ms Frater was also Chair of the Minerals COuncil of Australia Gender Diversity Reference Group, 2012-2015.  Her career also included geologist roles with BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and Rio Tinto.

Mr Gary Michael JOHNSTON
Public Service Medal 
For outstanding public service through improving national and international scientific program delivery in satellite positioning and geodesy.  Mr Johnston’s leadership in his role as Branch Head, Geodesy and Seismic Monitoring at Geoscience Australia has enabled the improved adoption of satellite Positioning, Navigation and Timing technology across Australian industry, research and government sectors.  Since 2015 he has chaired the International Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Service (IGS). GNSS supports many applications, including precise navigation, machine automation, and surveying and mapping. His key contribution has been to refocus IGS efforts onto societal applications of precise observations of the Earth using GNSS technologies.

Professor Geoffrey Neil PHILLIPS FAIG FAusIMM
Medal (OAM) in the General Division
For service to rogaining, to minerals exploration, and to education.  Professor Phillips is a Director of  Phillipsgold and an Honorary Professorial Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, since 2000.  He was Chief, Division of Exploration and Mining, CSIRO, 2001-2004, General Manager Geology, Great Central Mines Ltd, 1995-1999,  and Chair, Victorian Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 2001-2005 and Member, 1995- 2005.

Ms Erica Lee SMYTH
Companion (AC) in the General Division
For eminent service to the community through corporate governance roles with charitable, medical research, higher education, nuclear scientific and technology organisations, to the minerals exploration sector, and to women in business.  She was Chair of Toro Energy, 2009-2015 and a board member from 2004-2015.  She was also Non-Executive Director, National Energy Resources Australia, since 2015; Non- Executive Director, Deep Exploration Technologies CRC, 2013-2017 and Chair, Advisory Board, National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management
Authority, since 2017.  She is also a former Deputy Chair and Director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.  Dr Smyth’s career has included Principal Geologist, BHP Minerals Limited, for seven years, Manager, Beenup mineral sands project, BHP-Utah Minerals, for four years, Manager, Gas Market Development WA, BHP Petroleum for two years and General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Woodside Petroleum Limited, 1999-2004.

Congratulations to all award recipients.

Focus on mining safety

ICMM releases latest mining safety data of its members

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) recently released its annual safety data report on its member companies.

ICMM is committed to strengthening the health and safety performance of its members and reducing operational fatalities to zero. As part of this commitment we produce an annual safety data report of our membership. The full report is available at

The report, which collates the safety data of around 950,000 workers and contractors, recorded 51 fatalities in 2017. This was a decrease from 63 fatalities in 2016.

Eight of the 23 ICMM members reported no fatalities in 2017, these were Antofagasta, Goldcorp, JX Nippon, Mitsubishi Materials, Newmont, Polyus, South32 and Teck.

The number of hours worked across ICMM’s members dropped by four per cent, but taking this into account, fatalities reduced by 15 percent. There were 2 incidents which resulted in more than one fatality, a decrease from 5 incidents in 2016.

The data also shows an 11% decrease in the number of total recordable injuries from 8,445 in 2016 to 7,515 in 2017.

Tom Butler, ICMM’s CEO said: “While eight of our members had no fatalities and there were twelve fewer deaths in 2017, tragically 51 miners lost their lives. We shouldn’t underestimate the hard work that has been done to reduce fatalities, however this is still too many and we are determined to achieve our goal of eliminating fatalities in our members’ operations.”

The report findings include:

  • Twelve fewer fatalities recorded in 2017 compared to 2016
  • Eight member companies recorded no fatalities in 2017, an increase from six in 2016
  • 17 fatalities (33 per cent) were caused by fall of ground in underground mines – the number of fatalities fell from 31 in 2016
  • 11 fatalities (22 per cent) were due to transportation/mobile equipment, a reduction from the 15 recorded in 2016
  • In 2017, there were 931 fewer recordable injuries than in 2016 and 2,979 fewer than in 2015

In the six years of safety data published by ICMM, fatalities have dropped from 90 in 2012 to 51 in 2017 and in this time, the fatality frequency rate has dropped by 18 per cent
Since 2012, total recordable injuries have dropped from 13,895 to 7,515 and the total recordable injury frequency rate has dropped by 22 per cent.

The report also examines incidents by country and finds that 25 fatalities occurred in South Africa, four in Peru and three in Chile and the USA. The fatality frequency rate in Africa is 0.040 per million hours worked, 0.031 in Europe, 0.019 in the Americas and 0.013 in Oceania.

Gold18 Update


Gold18 will be held in Perth, 2-3 August 2018.16 CPD Hours

Gold18 is aimed at geoscientists involved with gold exploration and mining and is being convened by AIG in collaboration with

The symposium will feature:

  • Technical sessions, keynote speakers and a poster session
  • Early morning and afternoon tea and coffee
  • Lunch
  • Trade booths displaying the latest in commercial technologies to assist in gold exploration
  • Networking event with drinks and food: 6pm to 8.30pm Thursday evening.

The session themes encompass:

  • Technology transfer
  • Conglomerate-hosted gold deposits
  • Nuggets and regolith gold
  • From target to mine

Stay up to date with developments via the Gold18 page in the AIG events calendar.  The latest circular is available here.

PhD Position: James Cook University

The Economic Geology Research Centre (EGRU) at James Cook University (JCU) is looking for a PhD student available to start immediately to work on a project researching the magmatic evolution and magma fertility for Cu-Au-REE mineralization of the Mary Kathleen Domain, Mount Isa Inlier.

This projects is part of a larger research effort that we are conducting together with the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ) to improve the exploration potential in the Mount Isa region. As part of this project you will work with EGRU researchers, GSQ staff and exploration geologists from various mining companies operating in the region. This is a unique opportunity to advance your research career and learn new skills as part of a world class research team.

This project will benefit from recently rejuvenated analytical facilities at the Advanced Analytical Centre at JCU, and will include: micro-imaging, whole rock and in-situ major and trace element geochemistry; U-Pb dating of zircon, (± titanite, apatite, monazite); Hf isotopes in zircon; Nd isotopes in apatite, titanite & REE minerals; whole rock radiogenic isotopes, etc.

The successful applicant will make extensive use of these facilities and contribute to developing new research methods. We are looking for a candidate who has field geology and laboratory experience with at least one of the above techniques and who is willing to contribute to the research effort within EGRU. A first class Honours or a Masters by research are essential to be eligible for PhD studies at JCU. International applicants are encouraged to apply, but preference will be given to Australian and New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

If you are interested in being part of our team and would like more information about this project please contact one of the project leaders:

Prof. Paul Dirks (

Assoc. Prof. Carl Spandler (

Dr. Ioan Sanislav (

More information about the Geoscience department and EGRU can be found here.

Two new events from Geoscientists Symposia

Geophysics for the Mineral Exploration Geoscientist

Date: 11-13 December 2017

Venue: Tawarri Reception Centre, Dalkeith WA

Presenter : Mike Dentith

This innovative training course uses applied learning techniques and real-world mineral exploration scenarios to train participants in the key principles of interpreting geophysical data sets, without the need for complex mathematics and physics.
This course teaches participants to integrate geological and geophysical methods to optimise mineral exploration.
With more than 25 years experience in teaching, research and consulting in mineral exploration geophysics, Prof Mike Dentith is co-author of the award winning textbook, Geophysics for the Mineral Exploration Geoscientist, on which this course is based. He has run professional courses for industry, government and professional societies in Australia, South America, Asia and Africa.
Click here for a copy of the workshop brochure or to register on-line via the web site.


Date: 2 to 3 August 2018 (just before Diggers and Dealers)

Venue to be advised.

Featuring four exciting sessions, this two day meeting encompasses:

  • Conglomerate Gold
  • Regolith Gold
  • From Target to Mine
  • Gold Research

Call for Papers

Please send us an expression of your interest by sending an email to