Hunter Region Branch March 2019 Newsletter

Read the latest news from the Hunter Region

Welcome Message from the Chair


This month we farewell from our committee one of the giants of the AusIMM – Geoff Sharrock.  Geoff joined the AusIMM in 1968 while he was a geology student at the University of New South Wales. He was a member of the AusIMM Sydney Branch for many years and later a member of the Southern Queensland Branch.  Geoff was Chair of our branch for 11 years during which time he grew the membership from 221 to almost 600, creating the largest regional branch in the Institute.  He also initiated the Hunter Student Chapter.  From 2000 to 2005 Geoff was Chair of the AusIMM’s OH&S Taskforce and in 2011 was elected to the AusIMM Board and served as President in 2013-14.  In 2016 Geoff was awarded an Honorary Fellow and in 2018 was recognised as one of the 125 Faces of the AusIMM.  Geoff managed all of this whilst juggling a demanding career.  He has been a chief executive of four coal companies in NSW, including a secondment to Caltex Head Office in the USA, and was instrumental in the formation of the industry-funded Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP).  There is no doubt that the Hunter Region Branch would not be what it is today without Geoff’s personal dedication to what he describes as a “labour of love”.  We are indebted to Geoff for his service to both our branch and the AusIMM and look forward to catching up with him at future events.  A heartfelt thank you, Geoff.

JORC Seminar, Singleton, 21st March.  Are you a Competent Person? Our flagship seminar for 2019 focuses on the practitioners of JORC and delves into the issues and challenges every Competent Person faces at one time or another.  From assessing the influence of ESG factors on reserves, to what do investors really look for in a JORC report, this is your opportunity to hear from and discuss the issues with those actually estimating the numbers.  Places are filling quickly for this popular series.  Registrations close Monday 18 March.  To register for the 2019 JORC Seminar in Singleton click here

Call for Committee Members.  We currently have two vacant positions on the Hunter Region Branch Committee.  If you are passionate and dedicated to advancing professional development within the resources sector, we would love to hear from you.  We are particularly looking for people interested in driving our member engagement through social media.  You can be any professional within the sector, as long as you are a member of the AusIMM.  Committee members are expected to attend the Committee meetings which are held once a month via teleconference. The duration of each Committee meeting is approximately 1 hour.

Becoming a Committee member is a fantastic opportunity to broaden your network in the mining, oil and gas and related service sectors.

The Committee is seeking a diverse range of individuals and representation covering a variety of work environments, commodities and locations. Participating in the Committee is a rewarding experience and a great way to get involved with the AusIMM, help promote mining and meet new professionals.

If you are interested in being considered for one of the positions above in 2019 please submit your nomination including the following details (no more than 500 words):

  • name and contact details
  • current position and employer
  • very brief summary of your career background and involvement in the mining, oil and gas or related service sectors
  • any current or prior involvement with the AusIMM or other professional organisations
  • why you would like to be on the Committee and what you expect to contribute.

Please forward your nomination to us at [email protected] no later than COB Friday 5 April.

Nicole Brook, Chair AusIMM Hunter Region Branch

Upcoming Events – Hunter Region 2019

Various events are coming up, including:

  • JORC coal seminar – Singleton – Thursday 21 March
  • Students Meet Industry Night – Newcastle – Tuesday 26 March
  • National Ceramic Industries – Rutherford – Monday 1 April
  • Jameson Distinguished Lecture – Newcastle – July/August
JORC Coal Seminar

Registrations are open for the JORC seminar hosted by the AusIMM Hunter Region Branch on 21 March in Singleton NSW.

Date: Thursday 21 March 2019

Time: 9am – 5pm

Charbonnier Motel
44 Maitland Road
Singleton NSW 2330


Member – $150
Non-Member – $250
Student – $25


Registrations close Monday 18 March 2019

The seminar is a forum to present and discuss the current issues around the public reporting of Resources and Reserves under the JORC Code. It is an event that mining and investment professionals involved in the development, reporting and analysis of such fundamental valuation data should not miss if they desire to keep abreast of the current industry issues and community developments in these areas.

The meeting will be attended by Peter Stoker HonFAusIMM(CP) who is a geologist with experience in mine geology, mineral resource estimation, feasibility studies, project evaluation, mineral exploration and public reporting. Peter is the deputy chairman of the Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC), and a JORC representative on CRIRSCO. Peter will be giving a personal insight presentation into the scope for the upgrade of the JORC Code which will be released in 2020. He is keen to get direct and open feedback from the coal mining professional community on their perspectives around the application of the JORC Code to public reporting under the increasingly challenging community and business environment.

Networking drinks following the event 5-6pm.

Sydney Basin Symposium bus to collect delegates attending their welcoming dinner at 6pm from the front of the Charbonnier Motel.

National Ceramics Industries site visit – Rutherford

On Monday 1st April at 5pm we are having an eye-opening free event to see an outstanding application of innovation, technology and automation to value adding to earth materials.

Raw materials are sourced from various small mines in NSW and Victoria. After processing in a large grinding mill, spray drying, pressing, glazing, and inkjet printing, the material passes through a continuous gas-fired kiln to produce large ceramic floor tiles.

Extensive use is made of robots and autonomous forklifts for quality control, packaging, transport and warehousing of the finished products.

This plant operates around the clock with computer control systems and extensive automation.





Hunter Valley Coal Chain Conference

The Hunter Region Branch ran a very successful conference several years ago looking at all aspects of the NSW coal industry from mine to port. We are planning another coal chain conference and are looking for members that are interested in being part of the organising committee. If you are interested contact Geoff Pitkin at [email protected]

New members

Congratulations and welcome to the following new members to Hunter Region Branch. We hope to see you at our upcoming events.

Kerry Atkins – Associate

Timothy Chisholm – Member

Rocco Prochilo – Student

Ethan Wisemantel – Associate (reinstatement)

Kudret Tutuk – Member (reinstatement)

Student Chapter

The Students Meet Industry Night will be held in Newcastle

Date: Tuesday 26 March 2019

Time: 6pm – 9pm

Venue: Newcastle Museum,
6 Workshop Way,
NSW, 2300

Cost: Free attendance

Who will be there on the night: Glencore, Bacchus Resources, WSP and others attending to promote graduate and vacation programs.

Details and registration will be forwarded to members soon.

The next event is likely to be a trivia night in May.



Jameson Distinguished Lecturer 2019 – Dr Paul Bruer

Paul heads a CSIRO gold hydrometallurgy research team in Perth which is developing a new gold recovery process which does not use cyanide or mercury.  The process was first placed in operation by Barrick Gold in the USA in 2014.  Since then CSIRO has been working on further developing the process so it can be used on small scale gold mining operations which will significantly benefit small mining companies.

A demonstration plant has been assembled at Menzies located 100 km north of Kalgoorlie in WA.  The plant is modular – it fits in several shipping containers for ease of transport and relocation – and current capital costs are < $2 million.

The reagent is thiosulphate which takes the gold into solution and is less expensive than cyanide.  It is also relatively safe to handle, has low environmental risk, and has the potential to allow the development of gold mining and recovery in locations and countries which currently do not permit the use of cyanide.

It is expected that Paul will present his lecture in late July or early August 2019.  This topic is relevant to chemical engineers, metallurgists, exploration geologists and financiers.

Fuchs Lubricants site visit



On 11 February seven members enjoyed a very interesting site visit to the Fuchs Lubricants bulk blending plant at Beresfield. This state of the art plant was built at a cost of $33 million, and was opened in February 2018. Along with a second plant in Melbourne, these facilities service the mining, industrial and transport industries in Australia and New Zealand.

Fuchs Lubricants (Australasia) P/L is a subsidiary of the parent Fuchs company, which is still a majority owned family company based in Mannheim, Germany.

The very modern plant has a design capacity of 90 million litres per year and is currently expanding at about half that rate. The production section is highly automated and has all stainless steel tanks and pipework. The site runs with about 6 staff in each of the production, laboratory and warehouse sections, plus numerous staff in sales etc.

The Beresfield plant produces mainly bulk lubricants such as engine oils, transmission fluids & gear oils, but also longwall fluids. Oil testing services and research are also carried out. The plant in Melbourne produces primarily packaged products and grease.

Our group inspected the production section, warehouse and laboratory. It was also interesting to see the use of solar panels to generate part of the electricity for the site, a major fire-fighting facility, and a dramatic demonstration of hydraulic hose failure. The importance of maintaining cleanliness of your lubricants was emphasised, as substantial increases in the life of equipment can be achieved.

This was an extremely interesting site visit and those attending learned that there is a lot more to lubricants than meets the eye. Our thanks go to Fuchs for facilitating our visit with the provision of senior staff members and some refreshments for the group.



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Hunter Region Branch March 2019 Newsletter

Read the latest news from the Hunter Region