2016 NExUS program alumni

Highlights of the 2016 NExUS program

The inaugural NExUS 2016 attracted many applicants from around Australia, with 30 securing a place in the course. Participants were selected from every state and territory, from 13 different universities. We couldn’t have asked for a more passionate and enthusiastic group.

Alumni - 2016 NExUS program participants
  • 2016 program participants

    Front row, from left to right:

    • Lauren Harrington - University of Sydney
    • Leavania Vignesvaran - UWA
    • Georgia Wulf-Rhodes - UTAS
    • Jeremey Lee - University of Melbourne
    • Ava Stephens - University of Adelaide
    • Verity Normington - NT GeolSurv
    • Charlotte Barry - GS-NSW
    • Craig Pereira - UQ
    • Justin Ward - UQ-RioTinto
    • Stefanie Cesile - UTAS

    Rear row, from left to right:

    • Tegan Beveridge - JCU
    • Edwina Walker - Federation Uni
    • Courtney Anders - University of Melbourne
    • Tobin Bischoff - JCU
    • Christine Thompson - University of Adelaide, Demonstrator
    • Amy - Yu-ting Tao - UWA
    • Lachlan Hallett - NT GeolSurv
    • Natasha Chilekwa - Curtin
    • Warrick Tunmer - Curtin
    • Anna Edgar - Dacian Gold Ltd
    • Luke MacKay - University of Adelaide, Demonstrator
    • Bradley Williams - GS-NSW
    • Genna McDonagh - New Hope Group
    • Christopher Doran - Uni Wollongong
    • Stephanie Hawkins - Macquarie
    • Martin Nguyen - Monash
    • William Bardwell - ANU
    • Jack Maughan - UofA
    • Kurt Steffens - JCU
    • Lachlan Furness - University of Adelaide
    • Chris Lewis - GA
    • Allison Cooke - Monash
    • Richard Lilly - Mount Isa Mines - University of Adelaide, coordinator 
  • Week one

    Week one highlights

    The first week of the NExUS program was hosted at the state of the art South Australia Drill Core Reference Library at Tonsley, SA, with presentations from senior industry representatives including Gavin Lind (MCA), Robbie Rowe (NextGen/UNCOVER), Steve Hill (GSSA), Stephan Thiel (GSSA), Carmen Krapf (GSSA), Malcolm Sheard (GSSA), Ross Cayley (GSV), Jon Huntington (CSIRO), Ravi Anand (CSIRO), Ian Lau (CSIRO) and Graham Heinson (UofA).

    Workshops included regolith characterisation and mapping interpretations, a HyLogger hyperspectral data workshop, core logging and 3D visualisation of the South Australian geology database and geochemical dispersion in regolith.

    During the evenings, chances for networking were encouraged with senior industry professionals flying in specially to meet with and share career tips with the NExUS students. Industry representatives came from many organisations including BHP Billiton (Laura Tyler, Kathy Ehrig and Jamie King), Newmont (Philippa Sivwright), Heathgate Resources (Nima Sherpa), AIG (Kaylene Camuti), Olympus (Aaron Baensch) and Investigator Resources (John Anderson).

    A reoccurring theme when these senior professionals were asked about the future role of geologists is the move towards interpretation and compilation of multiple historic and modern data sets.

    The first week of NExUS concluded by attending the South Australian Explorers Conference (SA EMC) where students continued to build their networks and learn about the existing and future opportunities of the minerals industry in South Australia.

  • Week two

    Week two highlights

    After gaining the theoretical knowledge in the classroom and at hand-sample scale, during the second week students went exploring in the Adelaide Hills.

    Hillgrove Resources supported the program by providing ground access and data resources to one of their exploration tenures in the area. Participants carried out detailed mapping and practiced acquiring ground based geophysical data (including magnetics, gravity, magnetotellurics (MT), induced polarisation (IP) and Nano TEM) across the historical Wheal Ellen Cu (Zn-Pb) deposit.

    Soil geochemistry and an awareness of the different approaches for regolith sampling were also on the agenda for the students. During the evenings students processed the geophysical data acquired in the field with assistance from industry geophysicists including Matt Zengerer (Gondwana Geoscience).

    Soil samples were analysed with a pXRF, followed by creation of thermatic geochemical dispersion maps of the results using GIS software. Data was then collated, which allowed students to determine potential further exploration targets. Hillgrove Resources also provided the opportunity to visit the Kanmantoo Cu Mine and kindly laid out grade control drill core for the NExUS students to log and practice their mineral identification skills.

    To conclude Week Two, students were privileged to gain exclusive access and a tour of the Deep Exploration Technologies Collaborative Research Centre’s (DET CRC) prototype coiled tube drill rig and Lab-at-Rig at their Brukunga facility by David Giles (UniSA).

  • Week three

    Week three highlights

    For the final week, NExUS headed for the historic ‘Copper Coast’ of the Yorke Peninsula, SA.

    The focus for the start of the week was identification of ore and gangue minerals, hydrothermal alteration and breccia textures and mineral paragenesis. Building from the skills gained over the past two weeks, students were again provided with a practical learning exercise of logging and interpreting the mineral paragenesis of exploration drill core with senior geologist Craig Went at REX Minerals Hillside Cu deposit, which was discovered under alluvial cover.

    Steve Hill (Director of GSSA) provided a one day field-based workshop on biogeochemistry and regolith, explaining the potential for exploration companies to use vegetation to better define targets before moving in with a drill rig. He also encouraged students to accurately describe the regolith and the importance of understanding it as well as possible to ensure exploration activities, such as soil sampling, are conducted as effectively as possible.

    As the end of the three week course was fast approaching, the program moved from exploration into resource estimation and project feasibility. Students were introduced by Gavin Springbett (G&S Resources) to 3D ore body modelling in Vulcan and the process of resource and reserve calculations in accordance with the JORC Code. This process took the NExUS course full circle from conceptual exploration models to highlighting the importance of detailed reporting and ore body modelling.

    On the final night students were given the opportunity to reflect and share what they learned during the 3 week course and to thank one another for their friendship, encouragement and teamwork during the course.

    The professionalism and comradery between all the NExUS students was observed by all involved and commented on by industry professionals throughout the program, with some saying that they are happy to leave the mineral exploration industry in the hands of such talented individuals.

“The opportunity to learn from some of Australia's leaders in the Earth Sciences and from fellow NExUS attendees was invaluable. The diversity of experiences and material was inspiring as were the industry professionals who came to speak with us.”Allison Cooke - Monash University


This summary was prepared by Genna McDonagh and Richard Lilly. The original version is published on LinkedIn.