AusIMM Geoscience Society to run Pilbara field skills workshop

  • By Geoff Balfe MAusIMM(CP)

In past years, the AusIMM Geoscience Society (GeoSoc) has run a geological field trip in the east Pilbara focusing on combining Pilbara field mapping skills with an understanding of Hamersley Iron Ore Province geology and structure.

GeoSoc is pleased to announce that the Pilbara field skills course has been revitalised and updated and are looking for expressions of interest (for the first time since 2012) to run the course in September 2017. The course has an iron ore focus and it includes a visit to an operating iron ore mine where different types of iron ore mineralisation can be observed and studied.

mal-kneeshaw-and-geologists
Mal Kneeshaw and geologists.

The previous course was headed up by Mal Kneeshaw, who was one of the original iron ore geologists working in the Pilbara for BHP. Mal was a leader in the industry who sadly passed away in 2014. This new course is based on Mal’s original course, and GeoSoc has decided to dedicate the new course to Mal.

We have been very fortunate to have the input of Ilmar Tehnas and Andrew Duncan in redesigning the course. Ilmar worked closely with Mal Kneeshaw for many years and has updated the renowned Mal Kneeshaw iron ore presentation to expand the discussion on types of iron ore deposits and new ideas about the stratigraphic setting and structure of the Hamersley Basin. Participants on the course will have an opportunity to carry out field work over type sections including learning how to do quick geological sketches, structural analysis, cross-sectional interpretations and to solve geological problems. The course is well-suited to geologists who wish to gain exposure to the geology of the Hamersley Basin and of course, to iron ore deposits.

The field course will be led by Dr Andrew Duncan, an experienced Pilbara iron ore geologist who, for the last 23 years, has worked as an independent consultant with most of the Pilbara iron ore companies. Andrew is an expert on Pilbara structural geology, Hamersley Basin stratigraphy and participants will gain an understanding of how structure plays a part in the formation of certain types of iron ore deposits.

GeoSoc has been granted access to some of Fortescue Metal Group’s (FMG) operations for field study, including a mapping exercise in an open pit mining area. Participants will gain an appreciation of the different styles of iron ore mineralisation that FMG mines and processes. FMG geologists will lead this part of the tour and will give presentations on the geology, mineralisation and mining practices. The AusIMM is grateful for FMG’s cooperation in granting access to its mining areas for the purpose of this course.

Field trips will also extend into areas owned by BHP Billiton Iron Ore, Rio Tinto Iron Ore and API and GeoSoc is grateful to these companies for their cooperation in granting access approvals.

If you are interested in participating in this renowned field trip, please express interest on the AusIMM website. Alternatively, you may know colleagues or friends who would be interested so please bring it to their attention. This is a rare opportunity to visit some unique locations in the Hamersley Iron Ore Province as many of these sites have restricted access due to mining and exploration activities.

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