Are we all mined out?

Media releases

Released on behalf of the Australian Academy of Science

Most of the easily-found, economically exploitable mineral deposits in Australia have already been discovered, and are steadily being mined out. We need new, large, rich ore bodies to replace them.

How we go about finding and developing them is at the core of an Australian Academy of Science Think Tank to be held in Canberra on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 August. The media are invited to the first day, and the speakers are available for interview.

‘Success will demand new science, new understanding and new technologies,’ says chair of the Think Tank organising committee Dr Phil McFadden FAA. ‘There is little point in just working harder at the things we have been doing. We need a new paradigm in our approach, and that is what this Think Tank is about.’

The 2010 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank, Searching the Deep Earth: The Future of Australian Resource Discovery and Utilisation, is a gathering of about 60 of the country’s brightest early- and mid-career research scientists from a range of disciplines relating to exploration and mining. Questions they will be discussing include: How are we going to find the next giant deposits to mine? What new technologies will we need to exploit them in a low-carbon future?

‘This think tank is about bringing together young fertile minds, stimulating them, and providing an environment in which they can think openly and freely, to come up with the new ideas that will be central to our ongoing economic growth,’ McFadden says.

On the first day participants will hear from leading scientists in the field. Then they will divide into four groups to discuss the challenges of the future. Their conclusions will be published later in the year.

The topics and speakers include:

  • The challenge of discovering deeply buried ore deposits – Dr Neil Williams PSM FTSE
  • Knowledge discovery via a virtual geological observatory – Professor Dietmar Müller
  • Giant ore deposits: Why they are important! – Richard Schodde
  • Giant ore deposits: How do we get better at targeting them? – Dr Jon Hronsky
  • Society and exploration: Considerations for now and in the future – Peta Ashworth
  • Current issues for the future of innovation and new technologies in minerals exploration – Dr Tom Whiting.

Further information and program:

Event: 2010 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank

Date: 19-20 August 2010

Venue: Shine Dome, Gordon Street, Acton, Canberra

Contact: Tim Thwaites at Science in Public on (03) 9398 1416, 0422 817 372,

or Mona Akbari, Australian Academy of Science on (02) 6201 9452, 0447 679 612,