A podcast produced by the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG), bringing you geoscience and technology stories from the world of ore deposits. Season 3 sponsored by ALS Goldspot Discoveries.
40. Fit for Purpose Mining Methods
Three completely different types of ore deposits demand 'fit for purpose' mining methods. We consider the move in the last 20 years to ‘super’ block caving, unlocking massive deep resources, then change scale and examine an innovative new technology that enables ‘surgical mining’. Lastly, changing the mining method for Cobre's project in the Kalahari Copper Belt, Botswana, to in-situ leach may unlock new potential for the region.
We start with a look at block caving to consider the benefits and challenges of working in large deposits at greater and greater depths. We talked to Katrina Crook a mining engineer, currently with Glencore where she is Lead - Governance & Integration, Value Realisation. Her diverse experience provides provides a great overview of how the method works, the importance of geological knowledge and expertise and the challenges that need to be overcome.
Epiroc Youtube Video - Block Caving
In our next story we consider a completely different mining challenge and change the scale of the target. Allan Cramm is the VP Innovation for Novamera – a technology company with a new approach to mining, finding ways to unlock value in high grade narrow zones by using ‘surgical mining.’ They are employing a large diameter drill in conjunction with an innovative sensor technology and software to mine a range of targets that previously would have been stranded.
Novamera - Surgical Mining Video
Lastly - what do you do when you the high grade, underground mining target eludes you, but what you discover is too deep for an open pit? In the case of Cobre, an Australian listed company, they recognized an opportunity for an in-situ copper recovery operation. We talked to their CEO, Adam Wooldridge to find out the story behind the discovery and their plans going forward.
In-Situ Recovery - Sinclair and Thompson, 2015
39. Crystallizing your Communication - the Power of Words
Effective geoscience outreach and scientific collaboration are enhanced by our choice of words and communication tools. Our guests Sam Illingworth and Chris Jackson offer fresh perspectives based on their own experience and work. They focus on what we as individuals can do, from using poetry to solve scientific roadblocks, to ways in which we can better connect with audiences of all types – even those within our own work environments. Both challenge us to be more professional in our geoscience communication and work on measuring our impact.
Sam Illingworth, an Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University discusses his work, specifically using poetry as a tool for dialogue and reimagining a problem. Sam views poetry as being able to provide a space for dialogue. It connects scientists and non-scientists, enabling the development of research and enabling knowledge dissemination. He encourages us to do a better job of measuring the value of our geoscience outreach projects. Sam produces a poetry podcast, is an editor of Consilience (science poetry journal) and the journal Geoscience Communication.
Geoscience Communication journal
The Poetry of Science Podcast
Geologize Communication Course
Our second guest, Chris Jackson, is the Director of Sustainable Geosciences at Jacobs and Visiting Professor of Basin Analysis at Imperial College in London. He brings all our themes together and emphasizes how important it is for geoscientists to be effective communicators. His participation in shows like ‘Expedition Volcano’ on the BBC has allowed him to bring geoscience to a broader audience and engage them in a different, more accessible manner. Whoever is the audience, whether it be colleagues or school children, the key to success is making them feel smarter by the end of your presentation. This results also results in a more engaged and interested audience. The key questions are - How can we simplify without losing accuracy? What are the benefits and challenges in diversifying voices? Everyone can embrace geoscience communication at whatever level works for them.
TedX – Chris Jackson
Diversity UK Event
38. New Horizons in Geoscience Communication
In the evolving world of communication in geology and geoscience, the importance of dialogue leads the way to deal with some of society’s grand challenges. Iain Stewart is at the forefront, helping build effective communication strategies to advance the global geoscience mission. We also explore an example of empathetic, community centred dialogue with Kate Moore. A two-way conversation is critical to building the mines of the future, supplying the energy transition and supporting a broad range of geology-related societal challenges.
Iain Stewart is the El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society (Jordan) and Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth (UK). Iain has spent decades honing his communication skills, including a 15-year partnership with the BBC, but his thinking around communication continues to evolve. We talked to him about how he arrived at an approach of seeking to understand what people want to know, ultimately summed up by the question ‘how can we help?’. Importantly, he recently published a paper , Three Horizons for Future Geoscience, that uses the dialogic tool of the three horizons as a framework for thinking about systemic change and what pathways we can use to move away from the ‘business as usual’ approach. The paper evaluates the current state of geoscience, particularly in advanced economies, and poses one narrative that can be used to reimagine the global geoscientific mission. There aren’t easy answers, but there are ways in which we can build dialogue and seek solutions together.
Dialogue and asking the question ‘how can we help you?’ was fundamental to Kate Moore’s team on the large EU Horizon 2020 project, IMPaCT. Kathryn Moore, Senior Lecturer in Critical and Green Technology Metals, Cambourne School of Mines, was part of the team that worked with Mineco, a small mining company operating in Bosnia. Success in the project required multidisciplinary dialogue, across all technical disciplines and with the local community. One of their big challenges was also to create enduring and effective public outreach. Through both creative thinking and a series of fortuitous and challenging events, the final product was a thoughtful and provocative book entitled ‘Of Earth, For Earth.’ The book was published by the University of Exeter and is available from a variety of sources.
Our theme music is Confluence by Eastwinds.
37. Geoscience Communication on Three Continents
In many geoscience communities, the topic of declining enrollments globally across the discipline is very worrying. How can we demonstrate to the public the critical role earth science plays in supporting well-being of both human society and ecological systems? This episode highlights inspiring stories from three continents in the southern hemisphere – all early career scientists who are engaging with the public, running education programs for students, conducting interviews and more. What do all three have in common? They are passionate and curious, not afraid to ask questions or step out of their comfort zones, and willing to work on their own time. Join us and get inspired!
Irene Del Real used her major international L’Oréal award as a springboard, building on opportunities given to her to extend her reach. She regularly gives interviews on CNN Chile and presents at public forums, including a recent major science conference in Santiago. She is currently writing a book on the history of metals and human society and is an assistant professor at Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia. We talked to her about what resonates with her audience and how she develops her messaging.
After his village was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2016, George Rwegoshora, who was then a second-year university student, decided that he could help provide information and educate his community about earthquakes. He since graduated, worked in coal mines for 3 years and then in 2021 founded the Afrikagera Geological Center in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. As the Executive Director, he works with a group of 18 scientists to develop educational programs for students. These include classroom and field excursions, covering a range of topics, including mineral resources.
Combining her passion for geoscience and earth history with communication seems to come naturally for Holly Cooke, but her success really comes from the hours put in on her own time creating content and designing programs. Holly is a student geologist with Oz Minerals and an outreach officer with the Nexus Program in South Australia. She is an articulate and excellent communicator. She seized on an opportunity to bring high school students into the South Australia drill core library, giving them a hands on tour of the geological history of South Australia, and creating opportunities for informal challenging conversations.
Theme music is Confluence by Eastwinds
36. Two Facets of Diamonds
Diamonds have long captured the imagination and interest of people across the globe. Each stone has a unique story to tell, and those stories are only becoming deeper and more fascinating with the latest advancements in geoscience, social science and consumer activism.
This week’s episode looks at two different facets of diamonds. Evan Smith is a Senior Research Scientist at the Gemological Institute of America. He introduces us to superdeep diamonds, a small subset of diamonds produced globally that have both exceptional monetary and scientific value, especially when it comes to learning about processes that operate deep inside Earth’s mantle.
Gemological Institute of America
About 2 million women and men globally are involved directly in mining for diamonds, primarily at artisanal and small-scale (ASM) operations. Cristina Villegas is Director of Sustainable Markets at Pact, a Washington D.C. based NGO. She sets out how ASM today contrasts with the often-tainted picture from popular fiction and discusses recent innovations involving the ASM and big-business community that are bringing life-changing, positive transformations millions of diamond miners around the world.
Pact - Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining
Theme music is Confluence by Eastwinds
35. Drilling - All the Angles
Arguably the most important tool in exploration and mining is the drill, without it we lack the ability to collect data in that critical third dimension. We start with the basics of drilling technologies and communication between geologists and drillers, then delve into the power unleashed by oriented core and real-time data collection of critical drilling metrics. From the current state of the art to the changes on the horizon for drilling, this episode covers all the angles.
Kevin Slemko, Corporate Business Development Manager, Major Drilling kicks off this episode by first reviewing the standard drilling techniques used by the industry. That discussion provides the platform to discuss wedges, directional drilling, and automation. The industry is much closer than ever before to have standard automation on rigs. Kevin is also a passionate believer in bridging the gaps between drillers and geologists such that everyone benefits from understanding what each other is doing.
Did you know that porphyry stockworks can have a preferred orientation? Chris Brown, Principal Consultant , Oriented Targeted Solutions explains the processes available to orient core as well as the big wins that can come from spending the extra time and money to acquire oriented core. A big factor in success is the training of geologists on-site for quality control and to support real-time targeting. Chris also shares the successes achieved at the Bullfrog project in Nevada once oriented core was obtained and used.
Spurred by frustrations in acquiring and tabulating drill data reports, Jody Conrad, founder and CEO of Krux Analytics channeled her energy into building a drilling metrics SAS business for the mining industry. There is more to be gained, however, than just knowing how many meters were drilled in a day. Complete, real time, drilling data could yield important information about geology and the targets we are seeking.
Theme music is Confluence by Eastwinds
This is a very informative and interesting podcast.