2016 South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference report

  • By Simon Travers GAusIMM, New Professionals Committee Treasurer

Insight from a Victoria-based AusIMM New Professional

On Friday 2 December 2016 more than 630 delegates attended the 13th annual South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference in Adelaide. As a member of the AusIMM New Professionals Network (NPN) I was invited to represent the NPN and share the AusIMM booth alongside the AusIMM Adelaide Branch – a great example of collaboration between AusIMM Communities of Interest (COIs) and supporting the new professionals in industry for future growth and development. I would like to share the benefits of attending such a conference to encourage the involvement of fellow new professionals who may be considering attending a similar event.

Russell Hodges, Committee Member for the AusIMM Adelaide Branch and Conference Organising Committee, introducing the third session ‘Feasibility Studies’ of the South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference 2016, Adelaide.

Attending the conference provided an excellent insight into the minerals and resources Industry in South Australia. Like many new professionals, my previous experience to date has been primarily based in one state (Victoria) and spanning across different roles including exploration in several commodities, geotechnical investigations and environmental projects such as de-watering for resource pre-feasibility studies in NSW. Attending professional development events such as the South Australian Exploration and Mining Conference enables me to learn about the latest developments, legislation and projects within the SA industry. This was capped off by an opportunity to meet and catch up with peers based not only in the state, but also from other parts of Australia. This included the Titeline Drilling Company, David D’Astoli, whom had been a contact on LinkedIn for over a year and Senior Exploration Geologist Rebecca Klein from Doray Minerals Limited.

Divided into four sessions, being Early Stage Exploration, Mature Exploration, Feasibility Studies and Mines, the conference provided many highlights throughout the day. From my own experience, I drew parallels hearing from the following:

  • Martin Moloney, Principal Geologist – New Commodities, Iluka Resources. Armed with an arsenal of exploration techniques that ranged from airborne and ground geophysics, air core drilling, pXRF, and petrography to target Ni-Sulfides. During my time in gold exploration, these techniques were also used, emphasising the applicability and value of these and other techniques across a range of commodities.
  • Dr Antonio Belperio, Executive Director, Minotaur Exploration Ltd. Presenting on the existence of iron-sulfide copper gold deposits in the Gawler Range Volcanics (GRV). Based on analogous deposits located in the Cloncurry region of Queensland, Antonio’s presentation promotes discussion of the value of analogous geologic terranes, tectonic settings and keeping an open mind in exploration.
  • Kevin Wills, Acting Managing Director, Marmota Limited. As Conference Chair, Kevin commented on the progress made in 2016 for the Aurora Tank Project and Exploration Licences centred around the Challenger Gold Mine. The experience of the speaker was demonstrated through the juxtaposition of exploration rational and recently obtained exploration results. Like many of the other companies that presented, Marmota Limited are set up to have a big 2017.
  • Kathy Ehrig, Principal Geometallurgist, BHP Olympic Dam. Provided a stratigraphic insight at Olympic Dam. This summary involved several fields of geology that I applied in my research in Victorian gold deposits, including the CSIRO HyLoggerTM. The AusIMM Explorers’ Forum – The Woodall Symposium at IMARC 2015 was where I was introduced to Kathy’s work and understanding of the Olympic Dam deposit. Roy Woodall commented on Kathy’s work with the highest admiration. Kathy’s presentation echoed and emphasised Roy’s key message of how invaluable good science in exploration and mining is.
  • Bruce Hutchison, Principal Engineer, Hillgrove Resources Limited and Chris Giles, Managing Director, Havilah Resources. Presented on current operating copper and gold mines respectively, with a particular emphasis on a geotechnical perspective. The Kanmantoo Copper Mine, hosted in schist, provided a challenging geotechnical investigation which lead to the successful design of steep, stable pit walls and incorporated a database for monitoring and modelling rock falls. The Portia Gold Mine will encounter a soft substrate initially that will eventually evolve into a solid basement with depth. This will present both a geotechnical and metallurgical challenge that was forecasted by the presenter. These presentations provided me with an insight to geotechnical applications in mining and the value of databases for monitoring unique and characteristic features.

To compliment the conference, the Geological Survey of South Australia hosted a Geology Discovery Day on Thursday 1 December. This provided attendees with the latest developments by the survey to complement the industry and demonstrate the latest scientific understanding of the geologic terranes in South Australia. The Discovery Day will be run in parallel again with the conference in 2017. I would like to thank the AusIMM Adelaide Branch and the New Professionals Network for the opportunity to be a part of the conference and urge other new professionals in the industry to be open to attending and collaborating with similar professional development events run by the AusIMM and institutes alike.

Dr Kevin Wills (Conference Chair) with Members of AusIMM Adelaide Branch and New Professionals Network Committees. From left to right: Kevin Wills, Russell Hodges, Joe Ranford, Camla Rochat, Johan van Wijk, Stewart Emery, Georgia Wulf-Rhodes, Simon Travers and Janine Herzig. Honourable mention to Chris Sykes, the photographer.
The AusIMM Adelaide Branch conference booth, shared by the New Professionals Network in 2016.
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