Thanks to an intensive three-week course in South Australia, thirty handpicked students and learners will have their geological, geophysical, and geochemical skills honed to world-class levels.
These future "superstars" of the mining exploration industry will be trained with classroom and in-field exercises as part of the inaugural National Exploration Undercover School (NExUS) in Adelaide from 28th November to 18th December.
The first week will involve a mixture of classroom, laboratory and drill-core facility activities followed by field-site placements in the Adelaide Hills and the Yorke Peninsula for hands on geochemical and geophysical techniques in weeks two and three.
Exercises and teaching goals will be centred around the four key themes identified by the industry body UNCOVER as being the major knowledge areas to improve exploration success rates. These themes are, briefly:
- Characterising Australia's cover
- Investigating Australia's lithospheric architecture
- Resolving the 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution of Australia
- Characterising and detecting the distal footprints of ore deposits
NExUS Convenor Professor Graham Heinson said the “fantastic superstar students from around the country” were selected from disciplines including geology, geophysics and geochemistry.
“We were looking for people who were really keen on becoming future leaders … looking at the backgrounds and the enthusiasm of the 30 who are coming I think that’s a given,” he said.
“Industry has been very interested in this program and a number of major companies are sending some of their chief exploration people to Adelaide to meet the students because they see this group as being some of the 30 best scientists going into the industry.”
The program is run by the University of Adelaide with funds from the Minerals Council of Australia and its education sub-group Minerals Tertiary Education Council.
“Obviously we are very proud to have it in South Australia and run it out of the University of Adelaide,” Prof Heinson said.
“Our feedback so far is that it’s a good model and we would certainly look to run it again over the next few years.
“Internationally it’s already gaining a profile as being a very innovative program – obviously we’ve got to run it first to see how it works – but this is the first major mineral exploration summer school that we’ve run like this.
“I think it’s also a good time in the industry to put up something like this because we are addressing the very questions and opportunities that UNCOVER has put up and I think that’s why we’re getting such strong support from industry for it.“