AGIA Graphite Seminar – South Australia


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 As a database with over 200,000 references to Australian published and unpublished literature and reports, still available on RMIT’s Informit network, he considered AESIS to be an important resource, particularly for research purposes.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.

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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.

AGIA Members at Information Professionals WA Photo Opportunity

AGIA members recently participated in the 2016 historic group photograph of ‘Information Professionals in WA’ - the first event of its kind in Western Australia. The event brought together information professionals who often find themselves working in isolation – law librarians, school librarians, research librarians, records managers and of course science librarians. It was a great opportunity to catch up over refreshments and discover the variety of institutions where information professionals are working. Many thanks to Mawghan Elverd for coordinating the event.

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© Copyright 2016 Spool Photography (Neal Pritchard)

More photos can be found here: Please note images are not for commercial use and should be credited as above.

PPDM Perth Data Management Symposium 2016

From PPDM: In response to the current economic conditions this year, the Perth Data Management Symposium will be a one day event – August 4, 2016 – and PPDM have highly discounted the registration rates to make it easier to attend…

The 2016 Perth Data Management Symposium is a great opportunity for individuals in the petroleum data management industry, from Data Analysts to CEOs, to find out what is new in the industry, share experiences and knowledge, and network with peers and colleagues.

AGIA is again sponsoring the PPDM Symposium, enabling AGIA members to attend at a discounted rate:  AGIA Members – please email prior to registering to get your special promotional discount code!

PPDM are currently accepting abstracts for speaking at this event. Please visit their Abstracts Submissions Page to put in your abstract. The deadline for abstract submissions is May 20, 2016.

Read more on the PPDM website

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AGIA members awarded 34th IGC Travel Grant

AGIA members Laura Phillips, Bryony Caswell and Zoe Thomas have been awarded funding under the 34th International Geological Congress Travel Grant Scheme for Early-Career Australian and New Zealand Geoscientists.

Membership of a geoscience society affiliated with the Australian Geoscience Council (in this case AGIA) was one of the criteria for receiving the grant. Access to sponsorship is just one of the many benefits of AGIA membership – please refer to the Membership page to see details of AGIA sponsorship opportunities. Read on to see details of the grant projects being undertaken by your AGIA colleagues…

Laura Phillips: Lab visit to Boise Uni (USA) to gather first tephra geochronology data for Late Permian sediments of the Galilee Basin, learn state-of-the-art CA-IDTIMS dating technique

Laura Phillips’ PhD project will use public and proprietary drilling data to investigate regional to local correlations of the Late Permian Betts Creek/ Bandanna–Colinlea Coal Measures, with the emphasis on creating a consistent stratigraphic framework. Age dating of available tuffs in the sequence will better constrain the correlation between the Galilee and Bowen basins, and quantify subsidence rates between the different tectonic settings. Sedimentary and petrophysical facies analysis of core and wireline logs will help define depositional environments and their relationship to coal seam splitting patterns across the basin in response to climate and/or tectonically driven change. Provenance analysis of sandstones will help to determine differences in origin of source rocks supplying sediment to the basin and may help to identify different stratigraphic units.

Bryony Caswell: Fieldwork on the Waikato coast, New Zealand, to examine paleoenvironment/paleoecology changes associated with a rarely-studied Early Jurassic Ocean Anoxic Event

This project will collect new data on the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (Early Jurassic) from the Uroroan stratotype section on the Waikato Coast, North Island, New Zealand. The early Toarcian was a period of global warming and climate change that caused the oceans to become globally depleted of oxygen which resulted in a mass extinction of marine life. This important event is of great interest as an analogue for the changes that are occurring in the today’s oceans in response to rising global atmospheric CO2. Studies of the oceanic anoxic event have to date focussed on geological exposures in the northern hemisphere. Contrastingly this project will provide information on the changes that occurred in the Panthalassa Ocean and so will make a substantial contribution to our knowledge of the Toarcian OAE because only 0.3% of studies are from regions outside of the Boreal and Tethyan oceans.

The New Zealand Toarcian sections are of excellent quality and prior study has focussed on their lithology, geochemistry and biostratigraphy but very few have investigated the impacts of the OAE. Therefore, this will be the first study to investigate the palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental changes that occurred during the OAE in New Zealand. New data and samples will be collected to determine the palaeoenvironmental and palaeoecological changes that occurred. The results will help to develop the lithostratigraphic, chemostratigraphic and biostratigraphic framework for further studies of the event in the southern hemisphere. This will further knowledge and understanding of New Zealand’s geological past and the Toarcian OAE within Australasia. Furthermore, by improving our knowledge of the changes that occurred in the southern hemisphere it will contribute to our understanding of the changes that occurred across the Earth during this important event.

Dr Zoe Thomas: Field work in Northland (NZ), with support of local Iwi, using a drone to map the extent of lignite deposits for reconstructions of past climate and to image an area of cultural significance

The coastal region of Omapere, Northland, New Zealand, is hugely significant both scientifically and culturally. The area includes extensive lignite deposits which are of critical importance to reconstructions of past climate, but also has considerable cultural significance for the local Iwi, with the sand dunes at the Hokianga Heads associated with the arrival and departure of Kupe, one of the first Polynesian discoverers of New Zealand. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for mapping purposes and generating high resolution aerial images have recently been recognised to produce highly detailed data in a time efficient and culturally sensitive manner. Using this technology, it is possible to produce a detailed 3D representation of the lignite deposits within the sand dunes at the head of the harbour. Unfortunately, this area is being threatened by weed invasion, so this project is extremely timely for the preservation of this area of vast scientific and cultural significance. In terms of scientific enhancement of my career, I aim to publish at least one first author paper directly from this work, and use it to underpin a large future grant proposal. In addition, I am passionate about science communication and intend to create a virtual tour of my fieldwork, which will be housed by Intrepid Science, an online science communication resource maintained by my team at UNSW.