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Central VIC Branch – A Reflection on the Annual Regional Symposium and Branch Dinner

The 6th Regional Symposium continued in the strong tradition of brining advances in technical innovation and excellence to mining professionals in regional Victoria.

Jointly hosted by the AusIMM Central Victoria Branch and the Federation University's School of Science, Engineering and Information Technology, the event on the 13th of September brought together a group of over 50 minerals industry delegates to hear about new ways of approaching old problems.

Hosted at Federation University's Mount Helen Campus in Ballarat, the event continued to build on the connection of industry, its future graduates, and research.

Formal proceedings were opened by Justin Spalding, Chair of the AusIMM Central Victorian Branch before the warm welcoming address of Professor Helen Bartlett, Vice Chancellor and President of Federation University Australia.

Professor Bartlett said that the event represented;

the future growth of the gold industry in Victoria – and follows a long, distinguished, and at times controversial history punctuated by the gold-rush era in our region.

The minerals industry is a rich source of employment and enterprise in Victoria, providing much of the state's early economic development.

But most importantly, the symposium is an opportunity for the Institute's Victorian members to meet and share information, experiences and opportunities on the latest developments within the minerals industry.

It is great to provide this opportunity to our mining, mineral processing and geology students to interact with their industry throughout the day.”


The AusIMM (Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy) proudly defines itself as ‘Leadership for Resource Professionals' and continues this important endeavour through such branch organised events.

The regional symposium marks a key event on the year's calendar for the AusIMM Central Victoria Branch by providing a forum for its members and guests to network, drive discussion, learn from experiences and create opportunities for graduates and staff.

Justin Spalding, Chair of the AusIMM Central Victoria Branch commented in his speech that;

“Ore bodies are getting harder to find so we need students coming into the industry that will have a fresh way of thinking, outside of the box.

Events like this are a great way of promoting the Industry to students.”

This emphasises the commitment of the AusIMM CVB to the development of the next generation of Mining Professionals.


Topics covered during the Symposium were provided a depth of topics across the diverse fields of the resource profession.

It included new and novel approaches such as:

  • Geochemistry applications
  • The forefront of dark matter research
  • Electrical EVs in underground operations
  • Health and wellbeing onsite
  • Exploration outlooks and opportunities, and
  • Plant technical process innovations

A key inclusion was also hearing from the next generation of resource professionals with Jordan Rodgers from Girton Grammar School discussing his entry in The Earth Science Olympiad Challenge.

Jordan shared his experiences at the event that included, travelling to South Korea, meeting other Olympiad students from around the world, the Geology of several localities in South Korea, exams and practical assessments.

Placing to win a Silver Medal for the Olympiad, Jordan should be proud of his efforts and the AusIMM CVB Branch is proud to have supported his contribution to science to date.


The formal proceedings of the day were completed with the Branch Annual Dinner, where networking was on the agenda while the delegation heard also from Sandra Close and Jim Pollock on the topic of “Gold Price, Exchange Rates and the Consequences.”

Highlights from their joint presentation included:

  • The geopolitical history of the gold price: a fixed price, a market-dependent price. The latter making the gold industry cyclical.
  • Significant events, including the Australian gold rushes in Victoria and WA. There was excellent commentary on why these rushes occurred based on their timing and maturity of the provinces.
  • The entertaining banter between the two presenters.

A second presentation on the night by Keith Whitehouse, entitled “Clean Up”; summarised his travels to some primitive mining operations overseas.

Two key takeaways from Keith’s presentation were:

  • The extensive land degradation that can result from mining activities if not controlled or regulated. Related to this, several polymer-based remediation examples were demonstrated as remediation strategies.
  • The significance of OHS&E/HSEQ systems that are lacking in some jurisdictions even today. One reflection is how fortunate the Australian Industry is to have strict processes in place. Another reflection is how to better promote these practices across other jurisdictions for the welfare of workers.

Feedback for another successful symposium highlights the continued need for such forums to bring the community of resource professionals together, catch up face-to-face with colleagues and exchange ideas and experiences.

The AusIMM Central Victoria Branch would like to thank our major sponsors; Onsite Laboratory Services and Kirkland Lake Gold for making such events a reality.

We look forward to welcoming delegates back in 2020 for what is looking to be another exciting and rewarding year.

by J. Greene (MAusIMM), S. Travers (MAusIMM) and L. Koroznikova (MAusIMM)

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