Australian Geoscience Council Convention 2018

As a member organisation of the Australian Geoscience Council, AGIA is assisting in the organisation of the AGCC 2018, with AGIA President Angela Riganti as head of the Advocacy, Media, Protocol subcommittee.

Please take a moment to read the update on progress in developing the Convention program,  and if you are able to make a contribution or suggestion please get in touch with the Organising Committee at: https://www.agcc.org.au/committee

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The development of big issues and ideas for AGCC 2018

An outline of the technical program for our inaugural Australian Geoscience Council Convention (AGCC 2018) was provided in the last issue of TAG (March 2017), when geoscientists were invited to engage directly with planning the program. The technical program will provide the opportunity for all geoscientists to communicate their work to a wide audience, and to hear about relevant developments presented by other geoscientists in multiple fields. Essentially, this broad program will provide the ‘bedrock’ of AGCC 2018 in a format familiar to regular attendees of the AESC, IGC and other large events. As is always the case, these sessions will be predominantly self-organising mini-symposia, strongly influenced by the actual papers that you submit as speakers, with guidance from our member organisations (eg, the International Association of Hydrogeologists) and overall direction by the Scientific and Technical Committee.

A proposed new approach

AGCC 2018 will provide opportunities to examine and consider some of the emerging issues that affect us all in geoscience. We anticipate these will be topics that attract attention from industry, government and academia, while also creating opportunities for non-geoscientists to engage and participate in our deliberations in Adelaide. This interaction will be a significant differentiator of this convention and will help us achieve our vision to ‘raise the profile of geoscience to be pre-eminent in Australia’. We also hope to expose delegates to ideas they would not normally engage with in routine technical talks, and to attract those people who don’t normally attend our various member organisation conferences.
To do this, we plan to have several focused discussions that raise the Big Issues, explore the Big Ideas (hopefully some including new approaches and directions for some of the Big Issues!) and reach consensus about providing commitment and support for ways to take geoscience forward. We are aware of the value of strategic planning and believe that exciting times are ahead for geoscience. Some of these have become apparent to many of us during the current formulation of a new Decadal Plan for Earth Science, sponsored by the Australian Academy of Science.
An example of one topic we favour will be built around the early commitment to attend by Iain Stewart, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute in Plymouth, UK. Iain is a riveting speaker who is passionate about geoscience communication and education. We will hold a plenary session on this topic with additional key thinkers, an interactive question and answer session, the opportunity during the day to formulate an agreed convention position and a summing up statement (press release) that will be issued. We look forward to your thoughts on the merits of this approach and your likely level of commitment and engagement.

What are the big issues and ideas in geoscience?

We are seeking ideas about the Big Issues (and Big Ideas) that you want to explore, and about possible champions of these that will attract widespread community interest, support from major sponsors and the attention of policy makers.
At this stage, we have a think-tank subcommittee that has formulated the following possible topics from a much larger field of possible candidates:

  1. The future of the nuclear cycle in Australia
  2. Unconventional gas and energy security
  3. Resource-driven development of regional and northern Australia
  4. Reducing the impact of the boom-and-bust commodity cycle on Australian geoscience
  5. Geoscience education and communication.

Other possibilities could be the ever-increasing role of automation (robotics), improved drilling technologies, innovative geological models and the search for novel or unusual commodities, although these might be addressed comprehensively in the broad technical program. We are seeking your input on:

  • possible world-class thinkers to help us develop these or other topics
  • your own possible contributions eg, five-minute spoken position statements framing the issues and ideas
  • your interest in participation
  • your thoughts on our proposed approach (eg, whether these should be spread across the four days of the convention or all addressed on a single day)
  • whether these are the topics most important to you as geoscientists.

In conclusion

To reiterate, the broad technical basis of AGCC 2018 will allow us all to present papers on our specific technical interests (subject to acceptance by the Scientific and Technical Committee), which are of course very wide ranging and inclusive. There will no doubt also be embedded mini-symposia sessions covering the collective interests of many diverse groups and of our member organisations (eg, UNCOVER, JORC, Valmin).

We are now seeking your thoughts on the BIG ISSUES and BIG IDEAS component of AGCC 2018. To let us know your views, please get in touch with any member of the Organising Committee at our website: https://www.agcc.org.au/committee

BILL SHAW
On behalf of the AGCC 2018 Organising Committee

AGIA Easter Breakfast & Newsletter

We hope you can join us for the AGIA Easter Breakfast – it is a great way to catch up with colleagues in a friendly and informal setting. Join us for breakfast, or just a coffee & a chat. 

When: 7.30am Thursday 13 April
Where: Dome Westralia Plaza
167 St Georges Tce, Perth WA

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Pay-your-own-way on the day.

Please RSVP to secretary@agia.org.au  by COB Wednesday April 12 so we know how many tables (and Easter eggs!) we will need. Hope you can join us!

If you can’t join us at the Easter breakfast, catch up on the latest AGIA news in the March edition of the AGIA Newsletter here: Volume 18 Part 1

 CONTENTS:

  • AGIA News Highlights & linkedIn discussions
  • AGIA Certificate of Recognition – Julie Roberts
  • AGIA 40th Anniversary Celebrations
  • AGC News
  • Advancing Women – Elsevier Program

Easter eggs

 

AGIA Graphite Seminar – South Australia

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Graphite flyerThe Australian Geoscience Information Association (AGIA), SA Branch, hosted a very successful half-day seminar on Graphite potential and graphene research in South Australia in the Ira Raymond Room, Barr Smith Library, University of Adelaide, on 26 May 2016. About 70 people attended the seminar to hear presentations by five invited speakers, each with a short Q&A session. Informal discussions over a light lunch followed.

In his Welcome, Branch President, Des Tellis, took the opportunity to introduce AGIA, its aims and objectives and its long connection with the Australian Earth Sciences Information System (AESIS), which he characterised as one of the largest geoscience information projects undertaken in Australia. The AESIS story, he said, was recorded in AGIA Occasional Paper 8 published in October 2015 as an e-document and available for sighting on the AGIA website, details of which were in the ‘News Release’ handed out to registrants. As a database with over 200,000 references to Australian published and unpublished literature and reports, still available on RMIT’s Informit network, he considered AESIS to be an important resource, particularly for research purposes.

The first presenter was John Keeling, Senior Principal Geologist at the Geological Survey of South Australia, Department of State Development, speaking on Evolution of graphite markets and introduction to graphite resources on Eyre Peninsula. John gave an overview of graphite properties and current market demand for synthetic and natural graphite. This included developments in traditional uses in steelmaking and refractories, increased demand from battery technology for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage, and emerging uses in fuel cells, pebble-bed nuclear reactors, and for graphene research. Current and new global sources of natural graphite supply were considered, including Australia’s premier graphite province on the Eyre Peninsula. He outlined the geological setting of graphite deposits on the Eyre Peninsula, including past developments at the Uley mine and recent exploration activity leading to further discoveries. Some insights were provided on geological and mineralogical factors affecting beneficiation and suitability for target markets.

Graphite seminar 1

The next presentation was by Dr John Parker, Managing Director of Lincoln Minerals Ltd, who spoke on ‘Kookaburra Gully and Koppio graphite deposits in Australia’s foremost graphite province, SA’s Eyre Peninsula. He was followed by Gerard Anderson, Managing Director of Archer Exploration Ltd who spoke on Archer’s Eyre Peninsula graphite projects. Both gave expert evaluations of the geology and development potential of their respective deposits, including the role of electrical geophysics in identifying targets for resource drilling. John Parker ranked the Kookaburra Gully deposit in the top ten of global graphite resources, based on graphite grade. Development proposal for the deposit is well advanced, with strong Chinese connections, and grant of a mining lease by the SA Government was imminent. Gerard Anderson discussed the significance of variation in graphite properties across deposits on central Eyre Peninsula and the opportunity this presented for greater market diversity. For instance, Archer’s large Sugarloaf graphite resource contains poorly crystalline graphitic carbon, which Adelaide University research established as having substantial agricultural benefits in improved water retention and plant nutrient availability, when applied on sandy soils. Archer Exploration, along with graphite producer Valence Industries, were early financial supporters of graphene research at Adelaide University, which was elaborated by the next two speakers.

Professor Dusan Losic, Group Leader, Losic Nano Research Group, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Adelaide, and Dr Diana Tran, Research Leader, Graphene Research Group, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Adelaide, spoke on Graphene research at University of Adelaide. Professor Losic presented an excellent snapshot of the diverse potential uses for graphene being researched world-wide and supported by extraordinarily high levels of funding. This is reflected in the publication of some 75 papers a day on graphene research, by multiple agencies. He described graphene production methods and showed several videos of graphene products being developed and tested at Adelaide University, including robust self-cleaning surface coatings and fire-retardant coatings from graphene. Dr Tran followed with detailed examples of their Research Group’s work with particular reference to development of suitable analytical approaches to characterise graphene and thereby develop standards for reporting graphene quality. Professor Losic and Dr Tran’s extensive knowledge and obvious enthusiasm undoubtedly were factors in the recently announced grant to Adelaide University of $2.6 million in Federal Government funding to establish the Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation.

Much credit for the success of the seminar goes to the efforts of Committee Members Shelagh Krummel and Pam Aagaard for organizing the pre-seminar flyers and material for distribution at the seminar as well as all the subsequent arrangements, and to John Keeling who joined the Committee on invitation and brought together such a brilliant panel of speakers.