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Kimberley diamond exploration and the discovery of Argyle

AIG is intersted in hearing from explorationists who were involved in diamond exploration in Western Australia’s Kimberley region and the discovery of Argyle.

Work has commenced on a new book collecting the experiences of geologists and exploration support staff, presenting a mixture of technical descriptions of exploration strategies and techniques, the work that went into organising exploration programmes in a relatively remote region of Australia and descriptions of what life was like for those in the field conducting exploration work. CRA Exploration’s discovery of Argyle created a rush that attracted a number of explorers, big and small, all looking to make the next discovery.

Contributions describing the evaluation and development of the Argyle and Ellendale mi.nes will also be sought from those involved in these projects.

The style of the proposed publication will follow that of the volume commemorating the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Mount Fubilan copper-gold deposit which went on to form the basis of the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea, published by AIG last year.

The editorial panel for the new volume comprises Mike Erceg, Grant Boxer and Andrew Waltho, assisted by AIG’s publications editor Fiona Czuczman and the AIG publications team.

Five papers have been received to date:

  • Grant Boxer My Diamond Tale Part 1
  • Cyril Geach Argyle Changed the World
  • Manfred Marx Argyle Exploration
  • Jan Pickersgill Memories of a Mineral Observer
  • Peter Temby Diamond Tales

These papers have been used to produce a mock-up of the proposed publication, to assist in its ongoing development. The volume will be fully indexed to help facilitate its use as a reference text.

Several excellent technical publications related to Argyle already exist, including a special publication describing the geology of Rio Tinto’s diamond discoveries published several years ago by the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG). This volume aims to capture the stories of diamond exploration in the region, to add a human and social dimension to the information already in the public domain.

The editorial panel will be approaching potential authors over the next few months and welcome submissions from anyone involved in any aspect of exploration during this era. Anyone intersted in contributing a story or photographs for inclusion in the volume can contact any member of the editorial panel.

Mike Erceg Email
Grant Boxer Email
Andrew Waltho Email

Regular updates on progress can be received via email, the AIG website or AIG News over coming months, as the volume is assembled.

Suggestions and support for the preparation of similar volumes, to help capture first hand accounts and build a living history of mineral discovery in Australia are also welcome.

National Geotourism Strategy Released

The Australian Geoscience Council is currently implementing a National Geotourism Strategy, launched on 7th April 2021 by AGC President David Cohen, and which is being designed to support the orderly development of major geotourism projects and activities in line with overseas trends and domestic regional development imperatives.

Tourism Industry development benefits can be realised through the holistic approach of geotourism which enhances the value of traditionally structured, nature-based tourism by generating new product development (i.e. including geology, landscape, flora and fauna, as well as cultural heritage attributes, both Aboriginal and post European settlement, including mining). In essence, in Australia, geotourism has been defined as ‘tourism which focuses on an area’s geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment’. At the same time, the pursuit of geotourism offers the potential for new industries and employment opportunities through the development of major projects within Australia.

The Granites, Murchison GeoRegion, Western Australia. Photo: Jarrad Seng

The Strategy,  is being guided by a specialist reference group led by former Chair of the Australian Geoscience Council, Dr Jon Hronsky OAM, who  considers geotourism as a very effective way of communicating the value of geoscience to the broader Australian community. Improving the profile of the geosciences will help attract more of our top students to become professional geoscientists and support national efforts in protection of the environment, dealing with geological hazards, and discovery of the next generation of metal deposits that will underpin growth in renewable energy and the use of smart materials.

The National Geotourism Strategy has seven strategic goals. These span pathways for identifying and implementing major geotourism projects, to the development of digital platforms to provide information for travellers on geological features in the landscape. The Strategy will link three ‘geos’ – recognising our geoheritage and establishing new geotrails that are suitable for various styles of geotourism. The strategic goals encompass:

1. Development of new digital technologies to highlight and interpret natural and cultural heritage, highlighting geology and landscape, for a wide spectrum of visitors. 

Working Group Chair: Mark Williams, 

2. Define an approval pathway for major geotourism projects. 

Working Group Chair and Strategy Coordinator: Angus M Robinson, 

3. Establish a framework for creating high quality, sustainable geotrails. 

Working Group Chair: David Robson, 

4. Establish a national framework for geoheritage listings suitable for geotourism. 

Working Group Chair: Jason Bradbury, 

5. Develop geotourism in regional mining communities with potential geoheritage and cultural heritage sites. 

Working Group Chair: Dr Melinda McHenry, 

6. Strengthen Australia’s international geoscience standing through geotourism excellence. 

Working Group Chair: Dr Bill Shaw, 

7. Develop and enhance the geoscience interpretation and communication skills of everyone actively involved in the presentation of geosites, enabling the provision of accurate and thematic information in an accessible manner. 

Working Group Chair: Simone Meakin, 

Australian Geoscience Council The Australian Geoscience Council Inc (AGC) is the peak Council of professional geoscientists in Australia. It represents nine major Australian geoscientific societies with a combined membership of over 8,000 geoscientists in industry, government, or academia in the fields of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, mineral and energy resources, environmental geoscience, hydrogeology, geomorphology, and geological hazards.

2021 U.S. National Mining Hall of Fame Inductees

The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville, Colorado, plays an important role in telling the story of mining and its role in ensuring modern society’s sustainability to the public, both within the USA and Internationally.

Since 1987, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum has been a national monument to the men and women who champion the discovery, development, and processing of the USA’s natural resources, as well as a national institution educating the public about the undeniable relationship of mining to our daily lives.

The Hall of Fame inducts several prominent industry professionals annually. The 2021 inductees are Dr Harry Parker (MAIG), Dr Richard L. Bullock, Gary J. Goldberg and Raja V. Ramani. Elizabeth J. B. Arnold will receive the 2021 Prazen Living Legend of Mining Award at the Hall of Fame’s 2021 Induction Ceremony on 23rd October.

The inductees will be well known to many Australian geoscientists due to their dedication and service to both their professions and a global mining industry.

Dr Harry M. Parker (1946-2019) was best known for his leadership in establishing clear and defensible methods for classifying mineral resources and reserves in the global mining sector. He was a leading expert in geology, geostatistics, and resource and reserve evaluations. He completed a valuation of St. Joe Minerals’ domestic assets, which he described as “$500 million in five days.” Parker served on the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards from 2007 to 2018, including as Deputy Chairman, Chairman, and Past Chairman. He was instrumental in establishing the Registered Member category of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Engineering, in which members can serve as Qualified or Competent Persons. Between 2007, when the category was created, and 2019, he chaired SME’s Registered Member Committee, co-chaired its Resources and Reserves Committee, chaired its Ethics Committee, and was a vital member of its Valuation Committee.

Dr Parker was a member of both AIG, AusIMM amongst other professional and mining associations. He was awarded AusIMM’s Institute Medal, SME’s President’s Citation and Award for Competence and Ethics, and the American Mining Hall of Fame’s Medal of Merit.

Dr. Richard L. (Dick) Bullock (1929-2020)was a renowned expert on valuation, operations, and research and development. After earning a B.S. in mining engineering in 1951 and then time in the army, he worked in the research department at St. Joe Lead in Missouri. There, he developed the Bullock Burn Cut that would become the worldwide standard for blasting development drifts. Bullock continued to work in the mining industry for St. Joe and Exxon Minerals for the next 31 years while completing M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mining Engineering. He became an expert on managing mineral property feasibility evaluations, mine development and projects, ongoing mining operations, mining research, and multi-disciplinary engineering design groups. At age 65, Bullock became a professor at his alma mater, Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he taught for another 21 years. He developed and mentored many young engineers and published some of the most important reference books in the mining industry while also working at an associate with Behre Dolbear. Bullock was a Distinguished Member, Daniel C. Jackling Award recipient, and Legion of Honor member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Engineering. He was made an Honorary Professional Engineer of Mines and was elected to the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy Academy.

Gary J. Goldberg (1959- ) became President and CEO of Newmont Mining Corp. in 2013. He turned the company’s overall performance around through a disciplined focus on safety, technical fundamentals, and value over volume. This enabled Newmont to execute acquisitions, including Goldcorp in 2019, the largest transaction in the history of gold mining. That same year, Goldberg was instrumental in creating the Nevada Gold Mines joint venture with Barrick to capture the potential synergy of the two companies. Goldberg has a B.S. in Mining Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and an MBA from the University of Utah. Prior to joining Newmont, he had leadership roles with Rio Tinto companies around the world. Goldberg was Chairman of the National Mining Association from 2008 to 2010, where he led the CEO’s Safety Task Force and launched the CORESafety initiative, with a five-year goal of eliminating fatalities and reducing mining’s injury rate by 50%. As Vice-Chair of the World Gold Council, he led the group that developed and launched the Responsible Gold Mining Principles. He was honored with the Daniel C. Jackling Award by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration for his contribution to safety in the mining industry. He received the Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal for his leadership and contributions to the mining industry in value, sustainability, and safety.

Professor Raja V. (Raj) Ramani (1938- ) has devoted most of his career to educating mining industry leaders through his affiliation of more than 50 years with The Pennsylvania State University. Ramani was earned his B.S. in Mining Engineering with honors in 1962 at the Indian School of Mines. He joined Bengal Coal Co. before immigrating to the U.S. to earn M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at Penn State. Ramani then joined the faculty and has spent the remainder of his career there. After obtaining his Professional Engineering (P.E.) license in 1971, he developed a short course to prepare mining engineers for taking the P.E. exam. The course was taken over by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Engineering and continues to prepare exam takers even today. By 1978, he became a full Professor. He served as Chairman of the Mineral Engineering Management Section and Head of the Department of Mineral Engineering and was appointed to the first endowed chair in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Ramani has researched a variety of subjects funded by major scientific and mining-focused research agencies and institutions and was the Co-Director of three research centers. He has served on more than 40 committees of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Engineering, was its President, President of the SME Foundation, and Chairman of the Coal Division. He was a member of the SME Board of Directors, SME Foundation Board of Trustees, and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers’ Board of Trustees. In 2005, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Elizabeth J. B. (Liz) Arnold comes from a logging and farming background and married a miner. Growing up in the mountain west, she watched special interest groups politically assaulting the livelihoods of miners, loggers, ranchers, and farmers in the media.  In 1993, she joined a small grassroots group to fight back—People for the West! (later called People for the USA!—PFUSA).  She rose from “member” to Nevada State Chairman with 13 chapters across Nevada.  When PFUSA’s Board of Directors decided their next Chairman of the Board should be a grassroots person, Liz was elected and re-elected for 3 terms. The group grew to over 30,000 members during her years of service. All her PFUSA work was uncompensated and volunteered. Additionally, she volunteered for other resources industry groups as well working with various coalitions and public education efforts across the country. Liz dedicated many years of her life to public education and outreach because she believed it was critical to our future. She went on to work as a consultant for many issue campaigns, ballot initiatives, and candidates focused on public education in support of the mining industry and other natural resources industries.

Recently, Liz has immersed herself in founding the Nevada Women’s Leadership Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring, motivating, and building capacity among women to engage in government processes. This effort will grow a bench of effective women advocates that can positively impact mining’s political future and that of other resource industries by empowering more women to advocate effectively, run for office, serve on boards, and become strong leaders as a vital means of protecting the future of mining and natural resource industries for years to come.

Regarding this year’s honorees, National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum Board of Directors’ Chair David Brown stated, “We are pleased to honor those selected for induction this year into the National Mining Hall of Fame. Their contributions to the mining industry are immense and range from advanced methods for resource estimation and classification, development of new technologies for more efficient mining, educating the next generation of mining industry leaders, and advancement of safety best practice. Each, in their unique way, has brought significant and lasting change to our great industry. We are also delighted to honor Liz Arnold with the Prazen Living Legend Award. This award is given annually to an individual or organization for extraordinary work in educating the public on the importance of mining to our everyday lives and wellbeing. Liz’s lifelong work as an advocate and teacher of everything mining is exemplary.”

Visit for more information about the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, and its work.