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South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference 2017

The South Australian branches of AIG, ASEG, AusIMM, GSA and SACOME, with principal supporters Department of the Premier and Cabinet and Paydirt, invite you to the 2017 South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference

This year’s conference will be held Friday, 8th December, 2017.  Check the AIG Events Calendar for details and pre- and post-conference events.

June 2017 Employment Survey Open until 28 July

It’s time for another quarterly snapshot of the geoscientist employment situation in Australia.

This survey will provide data on trends in geoscientist employment in Australia during the second quarter of 2017.

The March 2017 employment survey showed that unemployment and under-employment for geoscientists had fallen in three of the last four quarters – encouraging news after a prolonged downturn.  Since then, there has been considerable speculation in the media regarding of an upturn in both exploration and mining, with some talking up employment prospects to the point that fears of a skills shortage were being voiced.  This survey will provide a much needed measure of the current situation for geoscientists.  Several resources companies have, this year, reintroduced graduate and vacation employment programmes – a very welcome development and, perhaps, a sign that they are seeking to lock in skills for their futures.

At 31st March 2017, the unemployment rate amongst Australian geoscientists was 12.1%, down from 14.4% in the final quarter of 2016.

Thanks to your support, this survey series is becoming increasingly recognised as an important indicator of not only geoscientist employment but the general health of the exploration and mining sectors in Australia.  The survey results are reported widely and used to promote and inform others of the health of an industry which is vital to Australia’s economy.  Importantly, the data supports advocacy by AIG on the need to improve access to land for responsible, well executed resource exploration throughout Australia.  Please support this ongoing initiative by taking a few minutes to complete this latest instalment in the survey series and encouraging your friends and colleagues to do so.

You do not need to be an AIG member to participate.  As always, no data that could personally identify respondents is collected by this survey.
The few minutes of your time spent completing the survey really helps to make a difference to the standing and knowledge of our profession.
The survey may be completed by following this link.

Welcome Improvement in Australian Geoscientist Employment

Employment prospects for Australia’s embattled geoscientists improved during the first quarter of 2017 according to the latest Australian Geoscientist Employment Survey conducted by the Australian Institute of Geoscientists during April.

Unemployment amongst geoscientists during the survey period was 12.1%, down from 14.4% in the fourth quarter of 2016.  Underemployment (geoscientists unable to secure their desired level of self employment) was 18.3%, down from 19.5% in the previous quarter.

Geoscientist unemployment in Australia – June 2009 to March 2017

The “real” unemployment rate (unemployed geoscientists and underemployed geoscientists able to achieve less than 25% of their desired workload was 21.7%, down from 24.5% in the final quarter of 2016.

The proportion of geoscientists seeking to leave their profession to seek work fell from 11.4% in the final quarter of 2016 to 7.9% in the latest survey.

An improvement in both unemployment and underemployment has now been evident in three of the past four surveys, supporting anecdotal evidence of a modest upturn in industry activity evident over the past year.  The unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2016 was 19.5% and the corresponding underemployment rate was 23.4%.

On a state by state basis, the unemployment rate ranged from 6.9% in New South Wales and the ACT to 14.8% in Queensland.  The underemployment rate was lowest in Victoria at 10.7% and highest in South Australia at 28.6%.

Geoscientist unemployment and underemployment on a state by state basis, Q1 2017

The unemployment rate fell in every state except Queensland, where it increased by almost 2% during the first quarter of 2017.  Underemployment fell in every state.

 

Geoscientist unemployment and underemployment on a state by state basis, Q1 2017.

Too few responses were received from geoscientists working in the Northern Territory and Tasmania to report state results.

Full-time, part-time and self-employment rates remained similar to those observed in the previous survey, at 77%, 5% and 18% respectively.  Some 59% of survey respondents work, or seek work in mineral exploration, 16% in metalliferous mining and 7% in energy resource (coal, oil and gas) exploration and production.

Long-term unemployment remains a real concern.  Almost 62% of unemployed and underemployed geoscientists reported that they had been out of work for 12 months or more.  16% of unemployed and underemployed geoscientists had lost their jobs during the quarter.  More than 53% were not confident of regaining employment in the next 12 months.

Just over half of the survey respondents currently in employment were confident of retaining their jobs for at least the next 12 months.

The survey attracted a total of 736 responses – more than one in ten geoscientists in Australia.

“After such a prolonged period of bad news on geoscientist employment in Australia, it’s good to have something clearly positive to report” spokesperson for the Institute, Mr Andrew Waltho said.  “The decline in unemployment and underemployment that we first saw some signs of in the latter part of 2016 appears to be continuing, reflecting a pick-up in exploration for minerals”.

“This good news, however, is no cause for complacency” Mr Waltho said.

“Geoscientist unemployment in Australia is still roughly three-times that of the Australian workforce in general, which is not good news for both the profession and the exploration and mining industry which accounts for the bulk of geoscientist jobs in Australia”.  “They work in an industry which drives a very large piece of Australia’s economy and provides both direct and indirect employment for tens of thousands of Australians” Mr Waltho said.  “Current levels of geoscientist employment are better than they were 12 months ago but are only back to mid-2013 levels” Mr Waltho said.

“More than two thirds of Australian geoscientists work in minerals exploration and mining”.  The Institute asked geoscientists what they thought were the biggest barriers to greater employment in Australia, to which the overwhelming response was access to land for exploration” Mr Waltho said. “Recent research, published on AIG’s website, shows that the area of each state in Australia under exploration licence has fallen consistently over the past decade”.  The most recent global survey of exploration and mining company managers undertaken by Canada’s Fraser Institute paints a varied picture of the attractiveness of policies and regulations governing mining and exploration in each Australian state”.  “Western Australia and South Australia were identified as providing desirable conditions for exploration and mining”.  “At the same time, one state was ranked lower than Russia as a destination for exploration and mining investment which is simply not good enough” Mr Waltho said.  Australia needs to compete globally for investment in new projects”.  “We have the skills and expertise to conduct world-leading exploration and mining geoscience but we need to ensure that Australia is seen to be an attractive place to invest, in which equitable access to land for responsibly conducted fieldwork is key”.

“Long term unemployment amongst Australian geoscientists is a real concern”.  A majority of unemployed and underemployed geoscientists are striving to secure new employment that still isn’t there, resulting in significant numbers of highly skilled and experienced professionals seeking work outside their chosen field” Mr Waltho said.

The improvement in this survey hopefully provides some encouragement for students who will be entering the geoscience profession over the next few years”.  “We are seeing some companies reinvigorate graduate recruitment and development programmes that have been a missing feature in the geoscience arena for a number of years which is also really encouraging” Mr Waltho said.  “We need more, both financial and intellectual, investment in Australia’s future to maximize the value of our mineral and human resources” Mr Waltho said.

Smart Use of Technology and Data

8 CPD HoursAIG Victoria branch will hold their annual conference on Friday 13 October 2017 on the smart and successful use of innovative technology and data.  The conference will be held at Macedon, a short country drive from Melbourne airport.

This conference provides the opportunity for geoscientists who have made smart discoveries using smart technology to showcase their results.  The conference additionally provides the opportunity for innovative technology companies to showcase their smart products.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry
  • Geological Mapping
  • Drones
  • Drill sampling and analysis
  • Data mining
  • Augmented reality
  • Drilling technology
  • 3D printing
  • Satellite imagery
  • GIS
  • Software

Speaker registration open | Exhibition booths available | Sponsorship packages available

Call for speakers: Four sessions will be held for 12-16 speakers. Presentations are 20 minutes each plus 5 minutes for questions. No abstracts or papers will be required, instead authors are requested to provide a copy of their presentation for the AIG conference web site. Please include a brief biography when submitting your request to present.

Sponsorship & Exhibition Booths: Packages are available. Exhibition booths are restricted to the first 15 applicants. Booths include a table and 2 chairs. Please nominate when registering if you prefer to bring your own banners or require a 1.8 m x 1.0 m poster board.

Click here for more information and/or to register as a speaker.

For further information and to register your interest please contact:
Rodney Boucher
Phone: 0417 506 051
Email: rodney@linex.com.au

Miner critically aware of social licence responsibilities

The mining and exploration quest in and around New Zealand’s Waihi gold mine involves a high degree of social licence.

A consultant to OceanaGold Corporation (TSX & ASX: OGC) working on the Waihi operations, Rick Streiff, told attendees at the recent Gold17@Rotorua Conference that in Waihi the Martha open cut mine has operated in the town and that the latest underground operations go underneath some housing.

Streiff, who also undertook work for previous owner Newmont Mining, said it was clear from the outset that the mining companies needed to listen to the concerns of Waihi townsfolk and he believes this has been a successful operation.

There were some challenges for exploration including when operating teams needed to undertake CSAMT work to enhance underground targets that the wiring near houses did not create any problems. This took in looking out for dogs and cats.

There were noise issues that needed to be covered, including encasing drill rigs in containers to mute the noise and to ensure at night functions such as not using hammers on drill steels or rods.

Modern gold mining at Waihi began in late 1980s with a pit at Martha over the original underground mines and this was originally operated by a joint venture of US and Australian companies, then taken over by Normandy Mining before that big Australian company was taken over by Newmont, which in turn sold Waihi to OceanaGold in 2016.

Rick Streiff said that following on Martha’s develop the underground discoveries to follow included Moonlight-Favona, Trio and the 2009 discovery of Correnso, now the current mining focus.

Discovery of Correnso came about when exploration near the Reptile Vein came across an intersection that appeared to be “something else.” Ongoing exploration outlined Correnso as a significant target and there was excitement with an intercept of 11.5 metres grading 17 grams/tonne gold.

Broader regional exploration advanced originally by Newmont which undertook a remapping programme in 2008-09 identified a host of targets including the large WKP deposit which had seen holes like WKP24 outlining a wide zone grading 1.5 g/t and, later WKP35 which outlined an equally wide zone and a related narrow vein high-grade zone.

Streiff said modern mining at Waihi has seen about 2 million ounces of gold produced at Martha and roughly about one million ounces coming from underground mines. The ratio of silver varies, with Martha having had 10:1 silver to gold and Favona 1:1.

Ross Louthean
22 Feb 2017
This article was originally published in NZResources magazine and is reproduced here with the publisher’s permission which is gratefully acknowledged.