DMR move to Maitland – Response by Australian Institute of Geoscientists – Greg Corbett

Australian Institute of Geoscientists

ABN 22 022 266 659

PO Box 606

West Perth

Ph (08) 9226 3996

Fax (08) 9226 3997

Web site


23 November 2001

Hon. Bob Carr

Parliament House

Macquarie St



Re: Move of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to Maitland (see below for Government press release)

Dear Mr Carr

The Australian Institute of Geoscientists(AIG) represents over 1200 geologists and geophysicists employed in many sectors including metalliferous mines and mineral exploration. These mines provide considerable economic benefits to regional economies of NSW. For instance Newcrest data suggests Cadia-Ridgeway annually contributes to the Orange economy in the range of $42-45 million in wages and salaries alone.

While the move of the DMR to Maitland may benefit some Departmental activities by proximity to coal mines (e.g., Mines Inspectors, Occupational Health and Safety), and the Maitland district will appreciate the job creation, the AIG believes the relocation of the Geological Survey and Geological Library including the open file report system, and titles section, will hamper mineral exploration and resulting economic development of regional NSW.

Mineral exploration begins with a study of the available data such as work by previous explorers held by the DMR in the Open File report system, and geological and geophysical data provided by the Geological Survey. While some open file data is available electronically, this system is not fully operational. The Discovery 2000 initiative by the NSW Government has provided much valuable new data to encourage exploration. Having identified a target using this information an explorer acquires an Exploration Licence and many continue to liase with Geological Survey staff and use DMR data during the continuing exploration process. Relocation of these resources away from Sydney where most mineral explorers are based will provide a serious obstacle to their use and inhibit the exploration process. The valuable Discovery 2000 data will become under utilised.

Much of the generation of new exploration projects is carried out by individual prospectors or geologists, who then seek continued funding by way of joint ventures with larger companies. Portfolios of properties developed by these prospectors often develop into small companies, which continue exploration. Even during the exploration stage considerable funds are expended in rural economies of NSW. For instance several recent explorers in NSW, the geologists who formed these companies, and expenditures, include:

* Golden Cross Resources NL by Dave Timms, ($14-15 million from 1994-2001);

* Michelago Resources NL by Sam Lees, (about $9 million since 1996);

* Malachite Resources by Gary Lowder, (average of $1 million p.a.);

* Millennium Minerals by Kim Stanton-Cook, ($1.2 million).

Bill McGee, another Sydney based geologist, reported to me how he recently used the DMR library and open file system to acquire a licence to prospect for nickel near Nyngan, and when Anaconda joint ventured into his property it acquired 6 other adjacent licences with a resultant expenditure of $ 650,000 in NSW over 2 years.

All these geologists report this process will be significantly more difficult, or in some cases not possible, if the library is moved to Maitland. Should any exploration projects discover viable mines such as a Cadia-Ridgeway, there could be substantially greater economic benefits and flow on effects to that region. These changes to the DMR could inhibit exploration and hence these developments.

The Geological Survey library is also a valuable educational tool which benefits a variety of users from school students to Universities, researchers and professionals, none of whom will be able to access this resource in Maitland.

I respectfully suggest your Government reconsider the move of the Geological Survey and Geological Library, map sales and Open File report system away from proximity to the main users in Sydney. If the DMR is moved to Maitland, then a distinct and dedicated geoscience information budget should be allocated to allow access by many parties to data essential for development of rural NSW.

Yours sincerely

Dr Greg Corbett

President, Australian Institute of Geoscientists

Ph 02 9959 3060 email


* DMR Maitland Relocation




The Premier of NSW, Mr Bob Carr and Minister for Mineral resources, Mr Eddie Obeid today announced 160 Department of Mineral resources jobs will move from Sydney to Maitland in the Hunter. Mr Carr made the announcement in response to a Question Without Notice from Country Labor MP for Maitland, Mr John Price. “These are jobs going to where they are best suited and where they are needed most.” Mr Carr said. “The move will have a fantastic spin-off effect. “These 160 families will spend their pay packets in local restaurants and shops. “They will buy their lunches and clothing from Maitland businesses and employ local tradespeople for repairs around the home,” Mr Carr said. The move by Department of Mineral Resources is the latest initiative in the State Government’s comprehensive program to move government jobs and services to regional and rural NSW. Since June 1995 the Government has created more than 1,900 government jobs outside Sydney and relocated more than 1,000.

“The moves by the Department of Mineral Resources highlighted the State Government’s commitment to relocating Government jobs to regional and rural areas,” Mr Carr said. Since April 1995, the State Government has relocated or is in the processing of relocating a number of government departments and agencies.

This announcement deserves a response and comments are called for, for the Comments Page. Certainly the two exploration geologists left in Sydney in 2004 will be disappointed….. Respond by e-mail here