Once again some very busy people have devoted their precious time to Geoconferences’ activities over the past year. This includes a great deal of effort by some of the Geoconferences Committee, together with others coopted onto various subcommittees, who have been working extremely hard on the organisation for the SEG 2004 conference next year. Entiltled “SEG 2004: Predictive Mineral Discovery Under Cover”, it will be held in Perth at The University of Western Australia from 27th September to 1st October next year. David Groves, when President of the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG), was responsible for attracting the first annual SEG conference to be held outside North America. SEG 2004 provides a great opportunity to showcase WA to a wide international audience of specialists from industry and academia in ore deposit geology and mineralisation. But, more importantly, it brings these experts to WA to pass on their ideas and experience to the local geological community.
The conference organising subcommittee has been working very hard under the direction of David Groves. Finalising the Memorandum of Understanding with the Society of Economic Geologists for the running of the conference in Perth, jointly between Geoconferences and SEG, has been a protracted exercise requiring perseverance by Susan Ho. It ensures that the interests of both SEG and Geoconferences are protected. The conference is shaping to be a great success with an exciting program in place.
I would like to acknowledge the great effort by guest editors for their work on publishing papers from the 4IAS (4th International Archean Symposium). Kevin Cassidy was responsible for a volume of Economic Geology, and Martin Van Kranendonk has coordinated two volumes of Precambrian Research, with the first (volume 127) about to be released.
The 4IAS and the Kalgoorlie ’97 conference accounts have been finalised, with residual funds in the Kalgoorlie ’97 account transferred to the various contributors or returned to Geoconferences for future conference support. As predicted, 4IAS had a small surplus which is a particularly pleasing result considering the impacted that September 11 and the Ansett collapse had on the conference.
A logo for the 5th International Archean Symposium (5IAS), based on the 4IAS logo, was selected from a series of designs by Murray Jones at GSWA. The logo will be used for early promotion, including information on our web site, to protect the 2010 5IAS conference from competition. Carl Knox-Robinson, through the Centre for Global Metallogeny, continues to provide support for our web site at www.cgm.uwa.edu.au/geoconferences where we currently provide information and reports on SEG 2004 and the JH Lord Travel Grants scheme.
I would like to welcome two new student members to the Geoconferences committee, Sandi Occhipinti and Marco Fiorentini.
Resignations from the Geoconferences committee were received from Peter Sorjonen-Ward, Chris Wijns, Jim Ross and Janet Dunphy. They are all thanked for their contribution, especially Janet for her work on the JH Lord Travel Grants Subcommittee, our most active subcommittee, and her contribution to 4IAS.
There were many successful applications for the JH Lord Travel Grants over the past twelve months. These grants are to support full-time postgraduate students wishing to attend an appropriate conference or workshop that will bring a tangible benefit to Western Australia, particularly in the area of Precambrian geology. Consideration is being given to extending the criteria to include young post-doctoral fellows from developing countries. Progress has also been made on the creation of a travel fellowship that would provide, from time-to-time, funding for a young WA geoscientist to broaden their experience by visiting a number of overseas locations.
Specialist speaker support was provided for Kent Condie and Ken Collerson, and a program has been finalised for a combined Geoconferences-SEG Student Chapter Seminar.
The Australian Student Mineral Venture, an initiative of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Education Endowment Fund, was again supported by Geoconferences. It provides an opportunity for interested secondary students to gain a better understanding of the wide range of careers in, and importance of, the mining industry to our community. The success of this program depends on the generous support of the broader industry, from exploration and mining companies to universities.
The committee has realised that with low interest rates it is difficult to maintain our current level of activity, particularly support to young researchers through the JH Lord Travel Grants scheme. To remain viable so that we can underwrite major conferences and also have excess funds to support travel and visiting speakers we must continue to organise major conferences, and run these at a small profit.
I would like to thank all committee members for another active and successful year. Susan Ho as secretary continues keep activities moving at a good pace while ensuring nothing gets overlooked, and John Bunting as treasurer has, at last, finalised accounts for 4IAS as well as tidying up other accounting loose ends.
We are looking forward to next year and the running of SEG 2004, confident that everything is in place to date, and much of the critical hard work has been done. Nevertheless, we still have serious work ahead to ensure that the conference is a success, thus ensuring that WA continues to be viewed as a significant region of the world for diversity of mineralisation and ore deposits, and education and research in geology, particularly Precambrian geology.