If you're a geologist working in exploration or mining its time to think about professional registration. Geosciences are one of only a handful of fields of professional practice in Australia where some form of professional registration is not either mandated by government, or effectively essential due to industry imposed requirements. This is a situation that should not be relied on to continue forever.
Geoscientists working in the environmental and engineering geology sectors in some Australian states and New Zealand, for example, require some form professional registration to submit reports to government. The community at large sees a commitment to continued professional development, in conjunction with relevant, formal qualifications, as being at the core of someone being able to consider themselves to be a professional.
Canadian geoscientists are required to be professionally registered in all provinces in which they work and securities regulators in that country have recently, openly discussed the importance of continued professional development in the maintenance of geological skills and experience linked to an ability to submit technical reports to Canadian securities exchanges. The Canadian securities exchanges currently generate 80% of all equity investment in exploration and mining globally. The TSX is followed by the TSXV as the largest single exchanges for sourcing capital for exploration and mining globally. Our ASX has slipped to fourth position behind the London Stock Exchange which is somewhat remarkable considering the importance of the resources sector in the Australian economy.
AusIMM members have effectively been compelled by Canadian authorities to obtain registration (Chartered Professional status). AIG members were not compelled to take this step last year when the ROPO conditions were last reviewed but this should not be considered to be something that will not change, possibly with little notice.
The fact is, the take up of professional registration in Australian geoscience is increasing, and AIG members are lagging the field.
There are arguments against registration, mainly in the field of compliance costs, where AIG has strived to address this issue by maintaining a low cost model for seminars and conferences, including a number of free after work talks around Australia which all count towards an individual's CPD effort. The AIG Edumine Campus also provides access to very high quality on-line learning opportunities at about a quarter of the individual enrolment fee paid by non-AIG members. There are no shortage of opportunities for achieving CPD requirements in a cost and technically effective manner.
There are currently no plans to make professional registration a requirement to act as a Competent Person in compliance with JORC. A question worth asking, however, is how much time will Australian geoscientists spend writing JORC statements versus NI 43-101 technical reports in the future? Seeking registration now is arguably a means of avoiding future disruption to your practice as a geoscience professional.
16 June 2012
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