In 2013–14 the Planning and Implementation Committee was established to implement the TeamWA Workshops series. Chaired by Sandra Occhipinti, TeamWA is organising a series of workshops on topics of relevance to the Western Australian geoscientific community. The emphasis is on innovative research or technology, and the facilitation and encouragement of effective exploration in WA. The first successful meeting on Iron Oxide Copper Gold deposits was held in May 2014, and two meetings are planned every year inviting both local speakers and high-profile speakers from interstate or from abroad to half day meetings. Meetings will be aimed at all facets of the minerals sector. It is certainly good to see these workshops underway after much discussion as to the ongoing role of Geoconferences through the decade between 5ias in 2010 and 6ias in 2020.
Geoconferences also sponsored a 3 day Workshop on Lithosphere Dynamics at the Centre for Exploration Targeting at The University of Western in November 2013, organised through the ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems. The meeting was to encourage discussion, interaction and national collaboration between different disciplines on lithosphere scale multidisciplinary problems. Although not a TeamWA initiative the workshop sought to introduce students, post docs and explorers to current research on lithospheric scale processes.
During the year there has been a major revamp and modernising of the Geoconferences website and Su Ho is to be commended for what is now a very attractive and well organised site. Applications for Travel Grants can now be made online, which greatly streamlines the process. I note that sponsorship for Earth Sciences Western Australia (ESWA) and its support for the teaching of Earth Science in WA schools is something that the Geoconferences committee is very keen to continue, and we applaud the release by ESWA of John Bunting’s ‘A Geological Field Guide to the Capes Region of Southwest WA’. Our current support is Platinum, and to continue at that level will require over $60 000 to the end of the decade. To avoid compromising the organisation of 6ias in 2020, it is clear that Geoconferences needs income for ongoing support of ESWA. We have agreed to sponsor the 13th International Nickel–Copper–PGE Symposium in Fremantle in 2016, but this and the TeamWA Workshops themselves are unlikely to provide the required income. In the past our Kalgoorlie conferences have proved very successful but in the current downturn a Kalgoorlie ’17 conference may not be viable. The current suggestion is to develop a conference, which would complement TeamWA, and aim at industry and industry sponsors across the board. Nico Theabaud has agreed to chair a ‘Targeting WA’ conference to be held in 2017 and will work to put together a subcommittee for this endeavour in early 2015.
In my view we need ‘new blood’ onto the Geoconferences committee blended with the ‘old hands’ to successfully run this proposed conference, and develop the confidence to run 6ias in 2020. TeamWA has shown the success of this approach, and to cement this change Sandra Occhipinti and I are proposing to swap roles for 2015-16, with her becoming Chair and me becoming Vice Chair.