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Copper keynote at Society for Economic Geologists 2014

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Conferences, PhD


My conference calendar is filling up fast! Following invites to speak at Indaba Asia and Metal Pages Electronic Metals and Rare Earths conferences, I am utterly honoured to be invited to give a keynote address to the Society for Economic Geologists Conference next year.

The Society for Economic Geologists (SEG), organises is its international gathering just every four years, so these events are rare indeed and I believe exceptionally well attended. Next year’s event will be in Keystone, Colorado and run 27-30th September.

The conference is been organised by minerals exploration guru, Jon Hronsky, who is one of the leading lights of the Centre for Exploration Targeting, Perth, Australia, where I am studying my PhD. Jon is a world-renowned expert on mineral exploration and economic geology, so will no doubt come up with a fantastic line-up of speakers to cover the theme of “Building Exploration Capability for the 21st Century”.

The conference is split into six sub-themes which very much address the key approaches to minerals exploration:

  • Fundamental Advances in Economic Geology – including relevant science not necessarily considered traditional Economic Geology
  • Mineral Systems Science – focusing on how the various process components that make ore bodies fit together across scales
  • Deposit Footprints – with an emphasis on how these can be expanded and discriminated from false positives
  • Innovations in Exploration Technology – new tools and smarter ways of applying old tools
  • Exploration Management, Targeting Science and Mineral Economics – optimising the business of mineral exploration and its interface with the science
  • Case-studies of 21st Century Exploration Success – learning from real examples of success

I will be presenting in the “Exploration Management, Targeting Science and Mineral Economics” theme on the subject of “What will the Copper mine of the future look like?” – which is in fact the subject of my PhD. There will also be an accompanying technical paper to my presentation, along with all the others, which should make for some fascinating conference proceedings.

I will be trying to define what geological and geographic parameters a successful copper deposit will need to have in 20+ years, to be successfully mined, developed and discovered. If 20 years seems like a long way off, remember it takes 20+ years to explore then develop a major copper deposit, so the paradox for today’s mineral explorers is that they need to be searching for what will be needed in 20 years, not now. With major changes in fuel, water, labour and land costs likely over the next 20 years, along with changes in mining technology, understanding of political risk and greater socio-political and environmental consciousness, what is a good looking deposit currently, is not what will be a viable mine in 20 years. You can find out a little bit more about my research into this area on my university webpage and personal website.

I don’t get to speak publicly about copper very much, so I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity, however you can get a flavour of my research, through a couple of older presentations on my Slideshare account:

Look out for further results and thoughts based on my research on this blog.

In the mean time, if you would like me to present at your conference on copper, or indeed tin, rare earths, gold, minerals exploration, mine project development, or mineral economics, please get in touch.

See you in Colorado!