SEG 2004: Predictive Mineral Discovery Under Cover
The Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) held its first “flagship” conference outside North America, SEG 2004, in Perth between September 27 and October 1, 2004. It was organized jointly by Geoconferences (WA) Inc. and SEG, in collaboration with SGA. There were about 750 registrants, with an overseas contingent of just over 200 delegates from 35 different countries, including 92 from Canada and USA. The program included pre- and post-conference workshops and five excursions at locations in Western Australia, Queensland and New Zealand, with one exclusive post-conference excursion visiting several giant mineral deposits across Australia.
The first three days of SEG 2004 comprised 36 keynote and invited talks covering “The Business of Exploration” (speakers: John Dow, Jon Dugdale, Owen Bavinton, Dick Sillitoe and Neil Phillips), “Models and Exploration” (speakers: Ken Mc Clay, Rich Goldfarb, Pepe Perello, Paddy Waters, Chris Heinrich and Nick Oliver), “Mineral System Footprints and Their Recognition Under Cover” (speakers: John Thompson, Charles Butt, Gwendy Hall, Phil Harman, Jay Hodgson, David Kelley, Francois Robert, Bruce Gemmell, Noel White, Mark Barton, Mike Lesher and Grant Cawthorn) and Targeting (speakers: Jon Hronsky, Charles Pretorius, Paul Agnew, Sue O’Reilly, Jon Huntington, John Profett, Tom Blenkinsop, Warick Brown, Nick Archibald, Roric Smith and Mike Kellow). The speakers came from all continents except Antarctica. Roy Woodall opened the conference with an inspiring address on “Can We Learn from the Past to Conquer the Future Challenges Facing Mineral Exploration”, and Ross Large presented his Presidential Address on “Ore Deposit Models, the Deposit Spectrum and Hybrid Ore Deposits”. Overall, the talks on the three days were excellent and provided a snapshot of where the mining and exploration industry stands in 2004: perhaps with conceptual thinking lagging behind major technological advances?
Collaboration with SGA was excellent, with a SGA Committee organizing an exciting three concurrent-session program of 54 talks on the fourth day. The keynote speaker was Jeff Hedenquist on “Cutting-edge Developments in Research Applicable to Mineral Exploration”. In addition, 66 posters were presented, many by students who were sponsored to attend the meeting: some also contributed to the oral program.
The social program was also a great success. Over 300 registrants and partners attended the inaugural SEG Awards Dinner at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle to witness the presentation of medals and awards to SEG awardees and the presentation of the initial Butt Smith Medal of CSIRO. Over 500 registrants attended the Conference Dinner, and the Icebreaker and Sundowners were exceptionally well attended. Many registrants commented on the benefits of free drinks after the program each day, with discussions continuing in the booth and posters areas for up to two hours after the last talk each day. More than 50 new SEG Members were signed up at the SEG Booth and at social occasions.
The publication with extended abstracts of virtually all talks, with accompanying CD, was extremely well received, providing a permanent record of the conference.
Overall, SEG 2004 was a great success and was a credit to the Organising Committee, the Program Committee and the many sponsors who contributed so generously. It should cement the concept of biennial SEG flagship meetings into the future. The next meeting, SEG 2006 “Wealth Creation in the Minerals Industry”, will be held in Keystone, Colorado, USA from May 14 to 16, 2006. The question is where will the next “offshore” meeting be held in 2008 – Canada, Chile, South Africa, UK or somewhere more exotic? Australia is always a hard act to follow! Good luck to whoever is brave enough to take it on!
David I. Groves
Convenor SEG 2004