Nominations for the seven prizes are open—they range from the Prize for Science to a prize for New Innovators, and prizes for science teaching excellence. Entries close Tuesday 12 March. More information available on the website.
The initial entry process has been simplified.
Again, applications close: 12 March 2019 5:00 pm AEDT
Overall improvement trend in geoscientist unemployment continues, but self-employed geoscientists still doing it toughPosted on March 5, 2019
Australian Geoscientist employment survey results for Q4 2018 released.
- Call also made for greater political action to ensure more equitable and timely access to land for exploration
- More women also forging geoscience careers
The latest quarterly Australian geoscientist unemployment survey for the final quarter of 2018, conducted during January 2019, revealed a slight increasein geoscientist unemployment, from 8.3% at the end of September, to 9.1% at the end of December 2018. Underemployment amongst self-employed geoscientists, however, rose significantly from 12.9% to 18.5% for the same period.
However, despite the dip for the past quarter, the new results pointed to evidence of an overall improving job trend since June 2016.
“This latest quarterly result is disappointing”, Australian Institute of Geoscientists spokesperson, Mr Andrew Waltho said today, “coming at a time when there was genuine optimism regarding an improvement in exploration activity, several, significant new mineral discoveries, and speculation regarding potential skills shortages facing the exploration and mining sectors”.
“Both the Federal Government and Opposition have announced initiatives to support mineral exploration research if elected in the May Federal election, but no-one is talking about improving processes facilitating equitable and timely access to land for exploration,” Mr Waltho said.
“In fairness, this is a state issue, but we are still seeing bureaucratic and lengthy processes in operation that disadvantage the junior exploration sector in particular, with little sign of change,” Mr Waltho said.
The unemployment and underemployment situation varied widely between states. Unemployment was lowest in South Australia (5.3%), NSW and ACT (5.6%) and Victoria (5.9%), followed by Western Australia (8.3%). The results for Victoria and South Australia represent marked improvements on the previous, September quarter survey. Unemployment in Western Australia was 8.3%, up from 6.5%. Unemployment in Queensland jumped from 11.5% in the September quarter to 15.1% in this survey.
All states except South Australia saw little change or an increase in unemployment in the 12 months between December 2017 and December 2018, but an overall improving trend since June 2016 remains evident.
The underemployment rate in South Australia took some gloss off the positive unemployment figure, coming in at 36.8% for the quarter, followed by Queensland (24.2%), NSW/ACT (16.9%), Western Australia (14.9%) and Victoria (11.8%).
The survey attracted 391 individual responses. Too few responses were received from Tasmania and the Northern Territory for the reporting of state results.
Junior exploration and mining companies employ 29% of Australia’s geoscientists according to this survey, almost as many as major and mid-tier companies combined.
Cultural shift needed
“This amply demonstrates the importance of measures to help small employers avoid burning precious capital waiting for approvals before conducting productive exploration activities” Mr Waltho said.
“Small companies have a limited capital base on which is difficult to raise further funds and must be used productively if they are to survive,” Mr Waltho said.
“Early career geoscientists tend to be employed in greater numbers by major mining and exploration companies but this soon changes as geoscientists gain professional experience, suggesting that major companies need to look more closely at retaining talent by providing a more dynamic and professionally rewarding professional environment for their staff,” Mr Waltho said.
Women are represented almost equally in the geoscience staff of major, mid-tier and junior exploration companies. The overall proportion of women in the workforce remains low, but large, mid-sized and junior companies don’t appear to either discriminate or be preferred sources of employment.
“Gender diversity in exploration and mining, long-considered to be a male dominated profession in Australia is changing rapidly” Mr Waltho said. “Almost half of the early career geoscientists (0-5 years’ experience) who responded to this latest survey were women,” Mr Waltho said. “The sector is clearly creating career opportunities for women that are being taken up and we need to ensure that this trend continues through measures to promote and preserve gender diversity,” he said.
“A drop in the proportion of women in the 5 – 10 year experience range is evident, but the proportion of women in the profession increases again in the 10 – 15 year range, suggesting, perhaps, that we are seeing the benefit of measures such as flexible employment and favourable parental leave provisions that enable geoscientists to mix raising a family with pursuit of a career. “This again, is something we need to build,” Mr Waltho said.
“The fact that we are seeing evidence pointing to this is a real positive for both the exploration and mining industry and our profession,” Mr Waltho said.
Bipartisan support by the Coalition and Labor will help our resource sector dig deeper for Australia’s secure futurePosted on February 20, 2019
The peak body for Australia’s 8,000 geoscientists — the Australian Geoscience Council (AGC) — has strongly welcomed commitments from both the Coalition Government and Australian Labor Party to boost support for the exploration of ‘next generation’ hidden mineral deposits in Australia.
“While Australia is endowed with significant mineral resources and the resources sector contributes massively to our economy, the ‘easy to find’ minerals of past decades have largely been discovered and exploited”
AGC President and former AIG President, Dr Bill Shaw, said today.
“There is now a need to explore much deeper underground for the nation’s new ‘hidden’ mineral fields.”
“Bipartisan support is crucial to ensure we champion new exploration approaches, new technologies, extremely accurate data collection and modeling. Not surprisingly, this requires significant long-term investment and the AGC seeks joint bipartisan commitment that will bring renewed confidence.”
“If Australia is to benefit from the huge demand for the minerals supporting sustainable technologies — copper, cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite and the rare earth metals needed for solar panels, electric vehicles and the batteries they need for storing renewable energy — significant investment will be required in new technologies and approaches to uncover ‘harder to find’ minerals.”
“The Australian Geoscience Council has been actively involved in the UNCOVER initiative and Decadal Plan for Geoscience — two initiatives of the Australian Academy of Science that have brought together government Geoscience agencies, industry, academia and research bodies in a unique collaboration to initiate and fast-track much-needed Geoscience research, data collection and new technologies to find and better exploit ‘hidden’ mineral deposits deep under the Earth’s surface.”
“A Resources 2030 Taskforce established by the Coalition Government has also focused attention on the need to attract and encourage resource development investment, and many countries are watching how Australia takes this forward as they try to catch up with our initiatives. We also welcome the recent investment in the MinEx CRC and AuScope, which will mesh with and complement further initiatives.”
“It is clear that the world-leading vision of these cross-sector Geoscience collaborations has been noticed, with both the Coalition Government and the Australian Labor Party announcing they will significantly invest in long-term plans to boost and support minerals exploration in Australia.”
“The Australian Geoscience Council notes that the Coalition has just released a National Resources Statement outlining how it will attract investment, develop new resources and markets, and share the benefits of success with more regional communities.”
“This will include supporting the development of new resource provinces through co-operation with state and territory jurisdictions; continuing to invest in advanced seismic and airborne electromagnetic surveys through the $100 million Exploring For The Future program; and improving the consistency and scope of data across the resource sector.”
“Such programs use cutting-edge technology and are having a huge impact on new views of potential minerals and groundwater provinces. The Coalition has also announced priority status for funding applications related to critical minerals projects under the $20 million Round 7 of the Cooperative Research Centres Project.”
“Similarly, we welcome the Australian Labor Party’s announcement of their Future Mines and Jobs plan that will kick-start the discovery of new mines across the country. It will also establish an Australian Future Mines Centre to co-ordinate exploration work and lead the scientific research and development necessary to explore under deep cover. The Centre will be funded through a $23 million Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative, with input from the Australian Academy of Science and the sector. Labor will encourage industry co-funding as part of the Centre’s work, and will also invest $2 million to provide 100 scholarships to arrest the decline in mining engineering degree commencements.”
“The Australian Geoscience Council strongly welcomes the significant focus of the major parties on supporting the resources sector to discover the next generation of ‘hidden’ mineral resources and increase Australia’s minerals and energy security. The markets and competitive profile around the globe are always changing, and they impact on Australia’s mineral resources and export opportunities, so there is no cause for complacency. We must have the knowledge to be able to plan and act strategically.”
“The years of easy exploration and extraction are largely over. The road ahead is going to require more innovation and substantial lead-times in discovering and developing the resources that Australia and the world needs. These must be found and extracted safely, cleanly and efficiently if we are to continue to support and maintain the community values that we expect in Australia.”
“Recognition by the major parties of these realities – and their understanding that the resources sector remains essential to Australia’s future prosperity, standard of living and resource security – is greatly welcomed in the lead-up to the next federal election and beyond.”
“We look forward to working with all politicians to help put their commitments into action.”
Australian Geoscience Council media release, 19 Feb 2019.
AIG is a member of the Australian Geoscience Council
More information on UNCOVER can be found here.
The Decadal Plan can be found here.
The Resources 2030 Taskforce Report can be found here.