The Geoconferences AGM was held on 16 August 2006, and the following annual report was prepared by the Chairman, Dr Tim Griffin.
Geoconferences has had quiet year. The significant up-turn in the industry has generated much more work in our normal day-to-day lives. We are managing the additional work in an environment where there are resignations, fewer staff and often frustrating efforts to find new staff. I’m not complaining, as this offers great opportunities for all of us still in the industry, as well as those young people entering the industry.
Representatives of the Geological Society of Australia, Australian Institute of Geoscientists, Australian Geoscience Information Association and Australian Society of Exploration Geophysiscists met in Melbourne in June to consider amalgamation in an effort to ensure there is a critical mass that will guarantee survival of a strong professional geoscience organisation for the future. This has been driven by the declining memberships and lack of success in attracting new young members to our major geoscientific organisations. The AIG is acknowledged for taking a low key lead in these discussions.
The international recommendation to change of the spelling of ‘Archaean’ to ‘Archean’ is a small example of the need to continue to look forward and identify the important issues for the future, and how best to act on these.
We are starting to see fresh faces at various organisational meetings, along with growing interest in the latest research and understanding of the geology across Western Australia. The systems using new technology that allow us to assimilate the mass of new information have been growing over the past decade. Hopefully, these systems will also allow us to use new information to deal with red and green tape more efficiently, so that we can concentrate on the geology and exploration. It is exciting to see a greater effort on a more thorough understanding of regional tectonics, and what this means for the location and styles of mineralisation.
This brings me to the main theme of Kalgoorlie ’07: An International Conference on Crustal Evolution, Metallogeny and Exploration in the Yilgarn Craton, which is the 4D evolution of the Yilgarn Craton. Kevin Cassidy, as chairman, and the organising committee have established a budget and are developing a program. We hope that this program for the conference on 25 – 27 September 2007 in Kalgoorlie will provide the benchmark on Yilgarn Craton geology for practising geologists for the next ten years.
It is with regret that Dr Su Ho has decided to retire from leading the Australian Student Mineral Venture program in Western Australia. This program has been running for more than a decade and was initiated by The AusIMM through its Education Endowment Fund. Geoconferences was pleased to contribute again as a major sponsor in 2006. Su has been fortunate to see some of the first students that were part of this program return to assist with the program, as graduates now employed in the minerals industry. Su’s dedication to, and enthusiasm for, this highly successful program should not be underestimated. Her contribution will be missed, and we acknowledge her fantastic role in encouraging young students to take a career in the minerals, and broader, resources industry.
With work for Kalgoorlie ’07 and early planning for 5IAS (5th International Archean Symposium) in 2010, we decided not to have a formal involvement in the Australian Geological Society’s Australian Geoscience Congress in Perth in 2008. Nevertheless, many on the Geoconferences committee will be involved and I encourage anyone interested in contributing to contact the WA Division of the GSA.
The need for more regular conferences run by Geoconferences is not as urgent as it was in the early days because of the current large number of private conferences organisers that cater for a range of commodity or industry sector needs. Nevertheless, there is still room for the less lucrative scientific meetings, which is where we will concentrate our efforts. The Specialist Speakers subcommittee and the JH Lord Travel Grants subcommittee will continue working to ensure Geoconferences is playing a valuable role in these areas, and engaging the students at university.
We have identified an opportunity to assist the universities in running student field mapping trips. All geologists should be encouraged to gain some experience in field mapping, even if they choose to work in other areas of geology later in their careers.
I also take this opportunity to thank John Bunting, as Treasurer, who has kept his eye on the ball with the demanding requirements of banks and the tax office throughout the year, and to welcome Jocelyn Thomson on board to handle the secretariat functions.
Our main challenge is to ensure Geoconferences remains relevant in these rapidly changing times, particularly to younger geoscientists who we hope will be keen to join the Geoconferences committee and continue its work into the future.