It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Geoconferences Committee and the 4th International Archean Symposium (4IAS) Committee for a most successful year. This is especially significant considering the shocking events of 11th September, the night before last year’s AGM, and the impact it had, together with the collapse of Ansett, on the 4IAS. Despite this, the special effort by all involved in the 4IAS ensured the meeting was a great success and managed, through special care, to return a balanced budget.
It also gives me pleasure to welcome Jim Ross, and Sandra Occhipinti and Chris Wijns (students) as new members to the Geoconferences Committee. We now have a very good mix of industry, government and academic members to maintain the initial objectives of Geoconferences of promoting Precambrian geology, and to link industry geoscientists to the latest research that benefits the WA community.
John Sofoulis tendered his resignation after ten years of selfless service to Geoconferences. Thank you John, many of us have benefited from your contribution over the years.
The highlight for the year was the success of 4IAS, held from 24th to 28th September, under the Chairmanship of Mark Barley. It attracted almost 500 participants from 20 countries and so ensured that all major advances in Archean geology were covered in the 200 oral and poster presentations. The excursions and workshops were also successful, and, as with all aspects of the 4IAS, tested the initiative and resolve of all involved who deserve our sincere congratulations. Much of the information from the conference is available in the extended abstract volume published by AGSO-Geoscience Australia (Record 2001/37) and eight excursion guides published by GSWA. We have also agreed to actively promote the 5th International Archean Symposium (5IAS) in Perth in 2010.
The JH Lord Travel Grants scheme continues to provide support to primarily young geoscientists as they develop their knowledge, skills and understanding through presenting results of their geological studies at various symposia. Significant support was provided for attendance at the 4IAS, and the increased publicity of the scheme has resulted in a larger number of students applying for and receiving support.
Geoconferences was very pleased to again sponsor the Australian Student Mineral Venture – West Region program that exposes secondary students to the mining sector and the critical role it plays in our society. Hopefully, it will encourage some of these students to embark on a career in the resources sector. Information on the venture is available at www.geol.uwa.edu.au/asmv/asmv.html.
Geoconferences has negotiated to take an equal share with the Society of Economic Geologists to host the SEG conference in Perth, 27th September to 1 October 2004. This is a significant undertaking and a coup for Western Australia thanks to the efforts of David Groves and WA’s international standing in economic geology research. A conference organizing committee has been established to manage “SEG 2004: Predictive Mineral Discovery Under Cover”.
The Centre for Global Metallogeny and Carl Knox-Robinson have made a major contribution in the establishment of our web site at www.cgm.uwa.edu.au/geoconferences.
On behalf of the Committee I would like to again recognise the amazing contribution of our secretary, Susan Ho, for keeping the activities of Geoconferences on track and ensuring Committee members are well informed throughout the year. John Bunting, as the Treasurer, has also continued to make a considerable commitment in these times of greater accountability and regulation.
In the coming year we must continue to promote the JH Lord Travel Grants Scheme to encourage skilled and enthusiastic young geoscientists that will be needed to build the minerals exploration industry when it recovers from this prolonged slump. We also face a challenge as we progress towards SEG 2004 and the opportunity to once again showcase geoscience in WA to the international community.