From the Editor of SGA News

 
L. Fontboté, Department of Mineralogy, University of Geneva, Switzerland
 

Jobs: a Good Reason to Reinforce Economic Geology Teaching at
European Universities

"The minerals exploration business is presently in a unique position. Over the past few years there has probably been more money spent on minerals exploration than at any time in the past. Furthermore, the level of activity is more uniformly spread globally than ever before. More countries are open for exploration than ever in the past. Consequently the opportunities for graduates entering the business now are unprecedented." This was the start of a keynote address given by Noel White, Chief Geologist, BHP Minerals International Exploration, at a recent seminar at the University of Geneva. Similar statements were made by representatives from major oil companies regarding the work market situation in hydrocarbon exploration.
My experience confirms these views. Recent graduates of our university are finding it easier to get positions in the mineral and oil exploration industry than in other "modern fields" including environmental geology.
Strangely enough, the jobs argument is one which only rarely is brought up in academic discussion when fighting against cutbacks in classical Earth Sciences. The fact is that today European university graduates with a wide field-based practical and theoretical geological training, with critical and analytical thinking, and with a sound foundation in ore deposits have their main career opportunity in mineral exploration. Of course, the jobs will probably not be in Europe. But in a global economy,  what else could be expected in a truly international industry, as mineral exploration has always been? The question is whether our universities always provide this solid basic training. In geological mapping and practical aspects at least, significant shortcomings exist. But there are also serious concerns in the field of economic geology, as in some universities it is not even possible for students to study  a course on ore deposits.
The Society of Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits has, in my opinion, a responsibility to help improve this situation by (1) facilitating bridges between industry and academia (the Turku Biennial Meeting, with a very significant participation from industry, shows the right direction), (2) specifying what the basic training needs are, (3) increasing the visibility of economic geology as a modern and necessary activity, and (4) transmitting the message to education and academic authorities that well-formed exploration geologists are  getting jobs and that they will also be needed  by industry in the future.
All can profit: Universities from new exciting research topics on metallogeny; students from better career opportunities; industry from well-trained professionals; ...and SGA from future active members.


Lluís Fontboté,
SGA NEWS editor, Geneva

Note: As foreseen, with this number 4, I will cease being editor of SGA NEWS. The newsletter will continue to be edited in Geneva for two years more under the direction of Dr. Massimo Chiaradia (who acted as coeditor from No.1), and with the support of other members of the Geneva Ore Deposits Group. I would like to thank warmly all the authors and contributors who have always sent (almost) on time the solicited articles and have made the editorís task an easy one. My special thanks go to Massimo Chiaradia who, while heavily engaged at the lead isotope laboratory, has been, from the very beginning, instrumental in the creation and production of SGA NEWS. I wish him great success and a lot of fun editing SGA NEWS.
 

Werner F. Giggenbach - In Memoriam

Werner F. Giggenbach died late on 7 November, 1997, during sampling of volcanic gases in a crater at Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, two days short of his 60th birthday.  He was considered by many to be the world's leading geochemist on active geothermal and volcanic-hydrothermal systems; he had conducted field-based studies in over 23 countries on all continents.  He recently extended his published studies to hydrothermal ore deposits as well as hydrocarbons in high heat flow basins. Born in Augsburg, he received a doctorate in 1966 in Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich (on the blue solutions of sulfur), followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. In 1968 he joined the New Zealand DSIR Chemistry Division, now the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, and helped to establish the group that advanced so greatly our understanding of hydrothermal processes. He was posted to the International Atomic Energy Commission in 1980 for two years, and with the IAEA and other international bodies was involved in the geothermal energy and volcanic hazard assessments around the globe. Giggenbach was the glue that held together the IAVCEI Commission on the Chemistry of Volcanic Gases, a group whose aim is to help mitigate volcanic hazards.  His 100th published manuscript was to be a chapter he was preparing for an SEG Reviews volume, in which he himself said that despite having vowed not to use four-letter words such as gold in his papers, he had reconsidered his pledge. He had an incandescent mind, seldom following, always leading. He was also an iconoclast in many subjects; he chastised those who put mag[mat]ic arrows beneath ore deposits without evidence. Werner was accompanied on his last field trip by Agnes Reyes, his colleague and wife.
J. Hedenquist, Geological Survey of Japan

 
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