This year, the more active members of Geoconferences and many friends coopted to the organizing committee and subcommittees have been extremely busy making the final arrangements for SEG 2004: Predictive Mineral Discovery Under Cover, to be held at The University of Western Australia from 27 th September to 1 st October 2004 .
SEG 2004 is co-presented by the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG), the Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits (SGA) and Geoconferences WA (Inc). The likely surplus, given that registration has passed the break-even number, will be shared equally between SEG and Geoconferences according to our MOU.
David Groves, as the immediate past President of SEG, is responsible for attracting the first annual SEG conference to be held outside North America to Perth , and chairs the organizing committee. SEG 2004 provides a great opportunity to showcase Western Australia to a wide international audience of specialists from industry and academia in ore deposit geology and mineralization. But, more importantly, it brings these experts to WA to pass on their ideas and experience to the local geological community.
We have been fortunate that there has been a distinct turn around in confidence and exploration spending in Australia , due to higher metal prices and the need to secure a wide range of resources for the rapidly growing Chinese economy. Over 450 geoscientists have registered to date, ensuring that the meeting will be a great event.
The SEG 2004 program is very comprehensive, and includes three workshops, five excursions and a full exhibition hall, including a combined display by all Australian geological surveys.
Geoconferences is in a healthy financial state and able to allocate significant funds to support the J H Lord Travel Grants scheme for young scientists, the Australian Student Minerals Venture and specialist speakers. However, these activities can only be sustained if conferences organized by Geoconferences are successful and provide a small surplus. Geoconferences must also ensure it has sufficient seed capital to be in a position to organize a major conference, such as SEG 2004. With this in mind, a subcommittee considering a strategic plan for Geoconferences has proposed the need to run a major conference every three years and a smaller meeting in each of the intervening years. Despite some simple assumptions, this plan is predicted to provide a sustainable, desired level of annual operating expenditure and was accepted by the committee as a workable model.
In its long-tem planning, Geoconferences has already identified the 5 th International Archean Symposium in 2010 and Kalgoorlie ’07 – An International Conference on Crustal Evolution, Metallogeny and Exploration of the Yilgarn Craton – a Decade of Progress for 2007, as upcoming events. Provisional dates have been set to avoid clashes with other meetings and to begin the advertising on our website at www.geoconferences.org.
Surplus funds from the 6th Platinum Symposium, held in July 1991 will be transferred to Geoconferences, where they will be clearly identified and expressly used to provide travel grants or support conferences related to platinum and nickel mineralization. These funds were in danger of being lost because the original organizing committee had long since disbanded and there was no structure in place to handle the funds.
Fourteen JH Lord Travel Grants were provided this year 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. A decision has been made to also provide limited funds to assist scientist with recent PhDs from developing counties attend appropriate meetings in Western Australia . A requirement for successful recipients is a report on their travel that is published in the Western Australian Geologist (WAG), the Australian Geologist (TAG), or AIG News, or on the association’s website. These reports provide evidence of the wide range of activities involving our young scientists. Information on the JH Lord Travel Grant scheme is on our website and in occasional advertisements, generally in the professional newsletters mentioned above.
Geoconferences also supported a joint lecture with Geological Society of Australia (WA Division) and presented by Rob Kerrich.
The Australian Student Mineral Venture (ASMV), an initiative of The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Education Endowment Fund, remains worthy of support from Geoconferences. It is a most important activity in generating enthusiasm for the minerals industry in senior high school students, and encouraging enrolment in related tertiary courses. The ASMV continues to get the generous support of the broader industry, exploration and mining companies, and universities. It is pleasing that the first ASMVers are now appearing in industry.
I would like to welcome three new members to the Geoconferences committee, Dennis Gee, Marcus Harris and Bill Peters. Geoff Johnson resigned from the committee and is thanked for his contribution over several years.
After another active and successful year, I would like to thank all committee members for their involvement and contribution. Susan Ho as secretary continues to keep activities moving while also working on the SEG 2004 committee. John Bunting as treasurer has also had a particular heavy workload with SEG 2004, and this will continue for some time as the committee works though the finances of the meeting and the closing of accounts.
In closing, we are looking forward to a fantastic SEG 2004. I am sure that it will be a credit to all those who have devoted so much time to guarantee its success, and will reflect extremely well on the vitality of the minerals industry and the application of excellent science on diverse mineral systems in Western Australia.