Economic Geology in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Panel Discussions



Timothy MacIntyre

Event Host

Timothy is an economic geologist with 16 years of experience exploring for and researching sediment-hosted ore deposits. He holds BS degrees in Chemistry and Geology from Northern Arizona University (2002) and MS and PhD degrees in Geological Engineering (2006) and Geology (2019) from the Colorado School of Mines. Tim studied the Cashin sandstone-hosted copper deposit in the Paradox Basin for his Master's degree. He worked briefly in uranium, oil & gas, and wildland firefighting before joining Ivanhoe’s exploration team in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Between 2009 and 2014, he worked on various exploration projects, including the Kamoa discovery, and advanced from Project Geologist to Exploration Manager. In 2015, Tim returned to the Colorado School of Mines to begin his PhD on the Kansanshi Cu-Au deposit in Zambia under Drs. Murray Hitzman and Alex Gysi. Dr. MacIntyre completed his PhD in December 2019 and is currently working as an independent consultant for Rio Tinto Exploration in Zambia.


Isaac Simon

Event Host

Isaac is a newer member of SEG’s Early Career Professionals Committee. He has past professional experience as a mining geologist with Freeport McMoRan performing ore control, drill rig supervision, and core/RC chip logging of supergene-enriched Porphyry Cu-Mo deposits and an Fe-Cu Skarn deposit. Currently, he works as a contract geologist at a low- sulfidation epithermal Au-Ag exploration project with Newcrest Mining. He received his B.Sc. degree in geology from California State University Northridge, where he worked on U-Pb age dating of zircon, rutile, and titanite in rocks from the Anita shear zone of Fiordland, New Zealand. He then received his M.Sc. degree in geology from Colorado School of Mines, where he performed research on the fluid conditions of pentlandite-bearing quartz veins from Kambalda, Western Australia.


Joaquin Copaja

BHP Chile

Joaquin is an exploration geologist for BHP based in Santiago. After earning his B.Sc. degree in geology from Universidad de Concepcion, he started his career at the Escondida copper mine before transitioning into the exploration industry. In the past three years, he has conducted generative and greenfield exploration activities in Chile and Peru, both in porphyry and lithocap environments. Currently assigned to the Chile Exploration team, his work is focused on porphyry exploration in central and northern Chile. He has strong interests in data science and analytics applied to geosciences, sustainability of the mining industry, and stakeholder management.


Irene del Real

University of Chile

Irene received a degree in geology from the University of Chile, an MSc degree from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD from Cornell University. Having worked in Cu-Au and Cu-Mo porphyry deposits and more extensively in iron oxide copper gold deposits, her research focuses on understanding the genesis and evolution of hydrothermal deposits from a multidisciplinary approach integrating structure, petrology, and geochemistry. Currently, she is working in her home country as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chile.


Murray Hitzman


Murray holds an SFI Professorship in the School of Earth Sciences at University College Dublin and is also the Director of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). He served as Associate Director for Energy and Minerals at the U.S. Geological Survey (2016-2017) and was the Charles Fogarty Professor of Economic Geology at Colorado School of Mines from 1996 to 2016 where a primary research focus was the geology of the Central African Copperbelt (Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia). Dr. Hitzman served in Washington, D.C. as a policy analyst in both the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1994-1996) during the Clinton Administration and the U.S. Senate (1993-1994) for Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT). He worked in the petroleum and minerals industries from 1976 to 1993 primarily conducting mineral exploration worldwide and was largely responsible for Chevron Corporation’s Lisheen Zn-Pb-Ag deposit discovery in Ireland (1990). Hitzman has B.A. degrees in geology and anthropology from Dartmouth College (1976), an M.S. in geology from University of Washington (1978), and a Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University (1983). He has previously served on the boards of a number of mineral exploration and mining companies and currently serves as technical advisor for the private company KoBold, focused on utilizing machine learning for cobalt exploration. He has received a number of awards, including the Chevron Chairman’s award for the Lisheen discovery (1992), the Society of Economic Geologists Silver Medal (1999), the Daniel C. Jackling Award by the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, and the Des Pretorius Award by the Geological Society of South Africa (both 2015), and the Haddon Forrester King Medal by the Australian Academy of Sciences (2016).


Hannah Hughes

University of Exeter – Camborne School of Mines

Hannah is an economic geologist and geochemist at the Camborne School of Mines (CSM), University of Exeter (UK). She grew up in Cornwall, a county in the UK with a strong mining heritage and which is now undergoing a renaissance in the extractive industries, from lithium to geothermal. Having completed her undergraduate degree in Earth Science and an MSc in Mining Geology, she undertook her Ph.D. at Cardiff University, investigating the potential for Ni-Cu-PGE mineralization in Scotland. From there, she was fortunate enough to obtain a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, studying lamprophyres, kimberlites, mantle xenoliths, and the Bushveld Large Igneous Province. In 2017 she moved back to the UK to take up a lectureship in Exploration and Mining Geology at CSM. She teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in topics ranging from ore deposit geology to GIS and underground mapping. Her research interests primarily focus on the metal budget of the mantle and its mobilization and what effect this has on mineralization in the crust through space and time. She is also interested in what applied mineralogy can tell us about the generation and mitigation of gas outbursts in underground mines.


Susan Lomas

Lions Gate Geological Consulting Inc.

Susan is a professional geologist with more than 30 years of experience as a consultant in exploration and mining. She has worked as an underground geologist and surface explorationist and now focuses on geological modeling, resource estimation, due diligence reviews, and NI 43-101 reporting. Her career has included working at remote sites all over the world, with junior exploration firms to operating mines, large consulting firms, and ultimately the company she founded in 2006, Lions Gate Geological Consulting Inc. (LGGC). In 2018, Susan founded the Me Too Mining Association (MTMA, to start the conversation about sexual violence, sexual harassment, racism, bullying, intimidation, and discrimination in the mining and mineral exploration industries and mining-impacted communities. MTMA designed a mining-focused bystander intervention program, DIGGER, to provide guidance on actions to address inappropriate workplace behaviors with considerations for safety. Susan was honored in 2018 to be included in the Women in Mining (UK) 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining.


Zachary Palmer

Nevada Gold Mines

Zachary is currently working for Nevada Gold Mines with the Goldstrike open pit geology group. As an ore control geologist, Zachary works to better define the Carlin-type deposit orebody at Goldstrike through the delivery of properly characterized material. He received his B.Sc. degree in geology and geological oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. He then completed his M.Sc. degree in geology at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), where he focused on constraining the metamorphic conditions and determining the age of metamorphism of rocks hosting base metal mineralization in the Wet Mountains of southern Colorado. Although he is a CSM recent graduate, he has performed geophysical surveys for the USGS, worked with portable XRF technology for Barrick, taught undergraduate courses at CSM, and spent a summer in Alaska as a contract geologist for a junior exploration company.


Katharina Pfaff

Colorado School of Mines

Katharina is a research associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. Prof. Pfaff received her master’s degree in petrology/mineralogy and her PhD in economic geology from the University of Tuebingen, Germany. Her employment at the Colorado School of Mines began in 2012. She oversees the Mineral and Materials Characterization (MMC) Facility that houses two SEM-based automated mineralogy systems, a field-emission SEM, and different XRF-based systems. The MMC Facility provides analytical services to students, researchers from universities and government agencies, and industry. Prof Pfaff is Associate Editor for the Mineralogical Magazine. Her research interests include methods development of SEM- and XRF-based methods, fluid-rock interaction and their impact on fluid evolution and precipitation of economic minerals, the utility of trace element signatures in minerals as recorders of fluid histories, stable and radiogenic isotopes to decipher ore-forming processes, and their timing, the mineralogy and geochemistry of critical mineral-rich magmatic and sedimentary systems, and the utilization of modern machine learning and data mining techniques in geoscience data interpretation. Prof. Pfaff has graduated eight M.S. students and is currently advising seven graduate students.


Erika Sweeney

Riverside Resources

Ericka holds an MSc degree in geology and mining engineering from LaSalle Beauvais (France). Originally from Reunion Island, France, she studied in Europe and moved to the United States after receiving her master’s degree. She has built an extensive knowledge of different precious and base metals exploration projects in the southern USA, Alaska, in all provinces of Canada, and most recently in northern Mexico. She began her career as an exploration geologist, during which she developed expertise in epithermal gold and silver deposits, as well as base metals systems, including porphyry copper in Mexico and VMS system. Following several successful projects, she joined Riverside Resources Inc, where she is now Joint Venture Program Manager and Corporate Development. Given the current challenges facing the industry today, she has focused on building a safe and forward-thinking environment for team members while continuously taking advantage of the current market situation to optimally position Riverside Resources Inc for the future.