Themes

Two women in cool-weather gear and backpacks looking off into the distance with a large mountain range blurred in the background

The technical program for SEG's 100th anniversary conference will showcase new science and thinking that will benefit society in the future, framed by the scientific accomplishments in economic geology and the mineral discoveries of the last 100 years. The program will be broad ranging, with four days of sessions covering seven major themes:

Game Changers — The First Hundred Years

Team: Patrick Mercier-Langevin, Melissa Anderson, Craig Hart

Reviews major scientific and technical breakthroughs, discoveries, and events that have had a profound impact on exploration strategies, and that continue to influence geoscience and exploration.

Highlights major scientific advances and ideas through the first 100 years of the Society, including technical, analytical, and experimental breakthroughs, and game-changing discoveries of deposits, districts, and belts. Describe events that led to fundamental transformations in the industry and scientific community, and which still impact on how mineral deposit-related research is conducted and the way exploration strategies and approaches are developed. Includes, but is not limited to, the following topics: (1) Major deposit and district discoveries defined in terms of economic and/or scientific and industry significance. (2) Step changes in exploration, mining and processing technologies. (3) Globally significant "events" that deeply influenced mineral deposit science and discovery, and our business at large, and that still reverberate today. (4) Paradigm shifts in exploration and research, from both the academic and industry perspectives; lessons learned and the great challenges not yet met. Contributions are encouraged to emphasize a link to "discovery" and the importance of "building on the shoulders of giants" as we look forward to the future.

Lindgren's Legacy — Ore Deposits in Depth

Team: Jean Cline, Andy Wurst, Ross Sherlock, Steve Piercey

Examines ore systems and geologic processes at all scales and depths, particularly relating to ore formation - a key principle in Lindgren's ore deposits classification, resulting in exploration success and increased discovery.

Examines the diversity of ore systems with a focus on ore formation at all scales and depths. Lindgren interpreted ore formation processes and the depths and P-T conditions at which they occurred based on extensive field and microscope observations at multiple scales. These observations and related interpretations provided the fundamental genetic principles of Lindgren's ore deposits classification. Focus on the use of modern tools and techniques applied with Lindgren's methodology to expand understanding of ore processes at all scales, contributing to exploration success and increased discovery. Theme subdivisions include: (1) Earth scale processes, (2) Crustal to district scale processes, and (3) Deposit scale processes. Presentations that integrate multi-scale field observations with modern technology to identify key ore-forming geologic processes are invited.

Gold 2020s: Golden Past, Precious Future

Team: Tim Baker, Rich Goldfarb, Elizabeth Holley, Lynnette Greyling

Captures our current understanding of important gold deposits and districts and addresses the evolution of ideas on gold deposit genesis and current thinking on factors controlling gold endowment.

Gold has been central to the Society of Economic Geologists over the past century and continues to drive worldwide exploration budgets and global research. Capture our current understanding of important gold deposits and districts, discussing the evolution of ideas of gold deposit genesis and current thinking on factors controlling gold endowment in geological belts of different ages and tectonic settings. Contributions on great gold deposits and districts as well as on emerging camps and new discoveries, and new ideas on gold depositional processes are strongly encouraged. Contributions on the economic and societal context of gold deposits are also welcome: what role will gold play in the next century?

Basins Through Time — Linking Process and Ore Systems

Team: Brian Mahoney, Neil Fernandes, Murray Hitzman

Explores the processes controlling ore formation in basins, from basin architecture to fluid compositions, through multi-disciplinary approaches, including new concepts in microbiology, geochemistry and temporal variations in physicochemical conditions on an evolving planet.

The largest economic mineral deposits throughout the history of the earth are the result of depositional, stratigraphic, structural, hydrogeologic, biologic, geochemical and geodynamic processes in sedimentary and volcanic basins (e.g. Witwatersrand Au, Athabasca U, Kupferschiefer Cu, African Cu Belt basin Zn-Pb, Abitibi Au-rich VMS). These deposits have been mined at an industrial level for over 150 years, but many of the fundamental controlling processes, from the basin-scale to fluid compositions, remain unclear. Successful future exploration will require a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that integrates existing data with new and emerging concepts in microbiology, geochemistry and temporal variations in physicochemical conditions on an evolving planet. Explore the historic context, current understanding, and future research directions in the development of basin-hosted mineral deposits.

Ore Deposit Structure — Processes, Patterns, and Innovations

Team: Dave Rhys, Sally Goodman, Chris Siron, Moira Smith

Examines the structural controls on the location, architecture, depositional processes, and post-ore modification of ore deposits, through the implementation of traditional and innovative structural techniques at orebody to crustal scales.

Three theme subdivisions are planned. The first will review patterns and processes that control different ore deposit types, including the structural creation of permeability in fault hosted and magmatic-hydrothermal systems, deformation effects in base metal deposits, and links between structure and depositional processes. A second sub-theme focuses on deposits and districts illustrating the structural controls on deposit types at deposit to district scale. The final sub-theme will address practical structural applications, innovations and methods, including structural application to 3D geological and resource modelling, oriented core best practices, linking of alteration models to structure, applications of 3D imagery in structural interpretation of ore deposits, and the definition of structural control on grade distribution in orebodies.

Beyond 2021 — The Next Hundred Years

Team: George Simandl, Chad Hewson, Julie Hunt, Britt Bluemel

Showcases emerging trends in our industry’s science, technologies, strategies and resource needs, and the new ideas and creative thinking that will guide us into the next century.

Beyond 2021, our industry will face increased challenges throughout the mining value chain. Environmental and societal expectations of mining are heightened as we move to a low carbon, technology-enabled future where mining and recycling will be central to supplying raw materials. Enhanced discovery rates, innovative mining and mineral processing are required through new science and technology, methods in data management, integration, visualization, interpretation and modeling. With this in mind, the theme will showcase emerging trends through the following sub-themes: (1) New innovations in science and technology including the integration, analysis, and interpretation large multi-disciplinary datasets, machine learning, (2) Geometallurgy and the emergence of real-time geoscience sensor technology, (3) Specialty materials required by low carbon technologies, including battery (e.g. Li, Co, Ni, Mn, V), magnet (e.g. Nd, Pr, Sm, Dy) and photovoltaic (e.g. Si metal and Ge) materials, and related market trends, deposit models and exploration case histories, and (4) The circular economy emphasizes the holistic use of raw materials including mining and recycling, materials stewardship, innovations in efficiency, particularly energy and water use, environmental responsibility and ways to address social acceptance of materials extraction and processing.

Diversity in Ore Deposits

We recognize that there is a great range of mineral deposit types and topics that may fall outside the broad spectrum of our conference themes. We welcome any contributions to ore deposit geology, other commodities, and exploration or mining-related topics that influence the future of our Society.

Tectonomagmatism and Porphyry-Epithermal Metallogeny (Tribute to Jeremy P. Richards)

Team: Ali Sholeh, Rui Wang, Elisabeth Ronacher, Michael Lesher

The geoscience community lost an esteemed colleague, friend, mentor, and award-winning scientist with the passing of Professor Jeremy Richards in mid 2019. Jeremy was a world leader in the regional tectonics and metallogeny of hydrothermal ore deposits, particularly porphyry and epithermal deposits. Jeremy was also an impassioned advocate for sustainable development, particularly as applied to the minerals industry; several projects examining various aspects of the industry were initiated over the past decade. Jeremy authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles in some of the top geoscience journals in the world, including the journal of SEG, Economic Geology. He served as editorial member of numerous journals and volumes, including Associate Editor of Economic Geology, and Co-Editor of the Economic Geology 100th Anniversary Volume.

Jeremy was a highly creative researcher who generated original interpretations and new ideas, some of which resulted in provocative papers. His students and colleagues remember him for his beautiful and insightful geological figures, meticulous attention to writing, and his generosity in supervising and hosting numerous students, scientists, and industry professionals from countries around the world.

In light of Jeremy's scientific contributions, a special session will be held at the SEG 100 Conference. Students and researchers who have collaborated with Jeremy and wish to honor his legacy are encouraged to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations on Tectonomagmatism and porphyry-epithermal metallogeny, or on other topics of Jeremy's interest.