Gold17 conference report

  • By Annette Pocock MAusIMM

Attended by participants from academia, industry, research organisations and government, Gold17 was a conference in which around 35 papers were presented on the theme of gold, including papers examining epithermal mineralisation, circum-Pacific mineralisation, mineralisation processes, structure and geophysics, orogenic mineralisation and alteration.

The conference continued a regular series of gold events that commenced with Gold82 in Zimbabwe and was followed by conferences in southern Africa, Australia and the Americas.

Organised by the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) and Geoscientists Symposia, the Gold17 conference took place between 21-23 February 2017 in Rotorua, New Zealand. The AIG ‘Gold’ series of conferences are normally held in Australia about three years apart; this was the first time that the conference had been held in New Zealand. Symposium sponsors included OceanaGold, the Geoscience Committee of the AusIMM, GNS Science, New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals and HiSeis.

The conference included one-hour keynote presentations twice a day, which was great for explaining a topic in depth, whereas sometimes with 15-minute time slots a presenter only has time for a whirlwind explanation between an introduction and conclusion. With an hour time slot the audience could be taken on a much more in-depth journey through the keynote speaker’s subject area.

The keynote speakers included international experts Stuart Simmons (Hot Solutions) on epithermal ore-forming processes; David Cooke (UTAS) on Epithermal gold deposits of the circum-pacific; Alison Ord (UWA) on data in mineral exploration; Bruce Hobbs (UWA) on considering mineral systems as non-linear dynamical systems; John Thompson (Cornell University) on hydrothermal alteration in gold systems; Julie Rowland (University of Auckland) on the influence of inherited structures on epithermal gold mineralisation; Dave Craw (Otago University) on fluid and orogenic gold in the South Island, New Zealand; and Shaun Barker (University of Waikato) on alteration and geochemical signatures of low-sulphidation epithermal veins.

The conference highlighted New Zealand’s underexplored gold potential, with presentations from leading New Zealand experts, across mineralisation styles ranging from epithermal gold in Northland and the Coromandel, the active geothermal systems of the Taupo Volcanic Zone and the orogenic deposits of the Reefton and Otago goldfields of the South Island.

Associated field trips included visits to gold mines in Otago and Waihi, and the geothermal systems of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, while short courses critically compared New Zealand mineralisation to that occurring elsewhere around the Pacific Rim.

I would like to thank the organising committee of Tony Christie (GNS Science), Lora Gonzales (geosymposia.com.au), Wayne Spilsbury (AIG), Gustav Nortje (AIG) and Julian Vearncombe (SJS Resource Management) for their contributions towards a successful conference.

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