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New NCGRT Director

Professor Peter Cook has been appointed interim Director of Flinders University’s National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training, following Professor Craig Simmons’ secondment to the Australian Research Council.

New NCGRT Director, Professor Peter Cook

Professor Cook worked with the CSIRO for more than 20 years before moving to Flinders University where he was Deputy Director of the NCGRT between 2009 and 2014.

An internationally renowned groundwater scientist, he was the US National Ground Water Association’s Darcy Lecturer for 2009, the first scientist from outside North America to receive this honour. His research covers groundwater flow, estimation of aquifer recharge and discharge, groundwater and land salinisation, groundwater-dependent ecosystems, and water resource assessment and management for irrigation, mining and unconventional gas developments.

He has collaborated with government and industry throughout Australia, and has been acknowledged as Australia’s Field Leader in Hydrology and Water Resources by The Australian.

“The NCGRT has developed an excellent reputation for the quality of its research and has been a groundwater leader within Australia. Craig Simmons has done a fantastic job over more than 10 years to get the Centre where it is today. But we still need to bring research and industry closer together, and this will be my main goal over the next few years.” Professor Cook said.

AIG congratulates Professor Cook on his appointment.

The New South Wales government has issued minimum standards to be considered by the Department of Regional NSW Mining, Exploration and Geoscience (MEG) when assessing an application for the grant, transfer or renewal of an authority. 

A copy of the standard is available here.

AIG received a copy of the standard dated June 2020 today.

The NSW Government states that holding an authority to explore for minerals in NSW comes with certain rights and responsibilities. MEG expects explorers in NSW to demonstrate a genuine commitment to the sustainable discovery and development of the state’s mineral resources, based on Schedule 1B of the Mining Act 1992 (Mining Act) that allows the decision-maker to take into account minimum standards when assessing an application for the grant, transfer or renewal of an authority. This standard details the mandatory criteria required to meet minimum standards and how MEG will apply them. 

The standards will be applied when assessing an applicant’s proposed work program, and when considering their technical and financial capability to carry out the work program and are intended to foster a commitment to effective and sustainable exploration. 

These criteria: 

  • benchmark applicant credentials, experience and financial capability to explore in NSW 
  • require applicants or transferees to submit geoscientifically and technically appropriate work programs that clearly describe the objectives, rationale and intended outcome of the exploration activities proposed over the term of the title, including environmental management and community consultation 
  • in the case of renewal applications, require authority holders to demonstrate over the preceding term of the authority either of authentic and tangible progress in advancing the geoscientific knowledge of the resource potential of the authority or project area and making reasonable progress in advancing a project towards mining status.

The minimum standards are intended to facilitate informed, consistent and transparent decision-making on exploration licence and assessment lease applications and also provide greater clarity and certainty to applicants and the community on how MEG assesses applications for these authorities. 

The minimum standards apply to applications for all Exploration Licences (EL) and Assessment Leases (AL) under the Mining Act, including for coal authorities. They do not apply to applications for Mining LeasesConsolidated Mining Leases or Mineral Claims (i.e. Group 7 Opals). 

An applicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must have either

  • five or more years’ exploration experience in the mineral group(s) or deposit setting nominated in the proposed work program.
  • membership with a recognised relevant professional organisation (e.g. AusIMM or Australian Institute of Geoscientists) at the minimum level of Fellow

An applicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must have not, at any time, had their membership refused, revoked or suspended by the organisation for conduct-related reasons.  Anapplicant’s or transferee’s nominated technical manager must not have been convicted in the last 10 years of a serious offence under the Mining Act, the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 or other relevant legislation or equivalent legislation in other jurisdictions.

Financial capability assessment requires applicant’s and transferee’s:

  • are not bankrupt or in administration; 
  • have sufficient capital currently on hand to meet the forecast expenditure and committed objectives of the entire work program; or
  • have third party commitment for the provision of finance to meet the forecast expenditure and committed objectives of the entire proposed work program; or,
  • their Board Members or Corporate Officers have successfully raised capital in the past for similar exploration programs in NSW or other jurisdictions.

MEG has published separate Work Program Guidelines that outline the expectations for how a work program is prepared in accordance with relevant legislative and regulatory requirements. These are available on the MEG website.   Guidance on how work programme requirements can be met is provided by MEG’s Work Program Guidelines

The guidelines are interpreted to represent explicit documentation of conditions that have previously applied to exploration tenement in New South Wales.  Technical Manager competence requirements, in some respects, are similar to the requirements associated with acting as a Competent Person ion compliance with the JORC Code.  The wording of the competence provisions is ambiguous in that being a Fellow of AIG or AusIMM appears to be optional.  The requirement for not having been subject to disciplinary action by AIG or AusIMM can only be satisfied by Fellows of either Institute.

Further information regarding the guidelines is being sought.  Feedback from Members is welcome.

Click on the image for a high resolution PDF copy

The National Library of Australia is currently undertaking a program of describing and digitizing their map collections.

The library holds a number of collections from cartographers, geographers, planners and other professionals, including geoscientists, that are kept together as formed collections, separate from the library’s general map collection.

The library recently digitised and described the Dr. J.H. Rattigan map collection, which consists of geological maps of the Hunter Region by G.D. Osborne. The collection has a finding aid.

Extract from Osborne’s geological map of the Carboniferous system between Glennies Creek and Muscle Creek, Hunter River District in the NLA Collection.

G.D. Osborne was considered one of Australia’s’ earliest pioneering structural geologists and his hand drawn maps date back to the 1900’s. You can view his collection of hand-drawn maps here.

The library would love to receive feedback and hear how people use these collections. Contact

High-tech metals are used in rapidly growing advanced-technology industries that are now being boosted by consumer demand for a high-tech, connected and environmentally sustainable future.

The Geological Survey of NSW has released a map, report and a series of fact sheets highlighting their state’s contribution to this emerging sector of Australia’s minerals industry.

metals map

The variety of products using high-tech metals are almost endless: from tiny mobile phone parts through to medical applications such as hip replacements and pace makers; from storing solar energy at the home to electric vehicle components and parts for huge wind turbines; even flying above us in parts for aircraft and satellites – high-tech metals play an important role in modern life.

NSW is rich in high-tech metals, offering exciting opportunities.

This map shows areas in NSW that currently produce, or have the potential to produce, high-tech metals including:

  • copper and gold
  • rare earth elements (REEs), including scandium
  • platinum group elements (PGEs)
  • cobalt, lithium, titanium and zirconium.

The map also explains the sources and uses of high-tech metals, contains important project summaries, and provides charts of current world production and reserves. A detailed glossary and reference list are also included.

Find out more on the NSW Geological Survey website.