Exploration Radio

Ahmad Saleem, Steve Beresford

Welcome to Exploration Radio, a podcast focusing on the past, present and future of exploration. Featuring interviews and discussions with explorers about the challenges they have faced, what we stand to learn from them and how we can better prepare for the future. Ultimately these are stories about the people, places and issues prevalent in mineral exploration.

All Episodes

In this episode, we are joined by Kyle Prentice and Justin Osborne who take us through their involvement in the discovery of the Gruyere deposit.  Let's explore.

Oct 28

1 hr 25 min

The story of Laurentian university closing is a sad one, and there are many reasons why that happened. But one reason suggested by many is the financial pressure that COVID has caused on universities. In Australia, a number of universities decided to stop their support for geology programs. As a country that relies a lot on mining, this seemed to be a short-sighted decision. COVID has undoubtedly accelerated the closure of many geology departments. Today we are joined by Pete Betts from Monash University, who suggests other reasons why geology programs are struggling to keep their place. Maybe it had more to do with the fact that we find it hard to engage the wider society with regards to why our science is important and what value it actually provides.

Oct 13

1 hr 20 min

“The River ran through the lives of our grandparents; it runs through our lives; it will run through the lives of our grandchildren. A dynamic force masked by a static constancy, the River will speak to those who listen — our land speaks.” The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) became law in 1971 and with that, it conveyed more than 45 million acres of land to village and regional corporations in Alaska. One of these corporations was Doyon Limited, an entity that today is a multi-billion dollar corporation and looks after an area the size of France. Negotiating access to land and navigating the rights that indigenous people have on that land are becoming critical issues for many industries. A lot of the dialogue on improving the dialogue with native title groups is often driven by the industry or government. What about the perspective from the other side? In this episode, we sit down for a chat with Aaron Schutt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Doyon, Limited. We find out why being brave matters. Let's explore.

Oct 3

51 min 46 sec

In this episode, we speak to Tony Reda from Tectonic Metals. Tony is trying to create a company where the non-technical opportunities or risks are just as critical a pillar in the company as identifying the technical opportunities present. They are trying to do the right thing as early as possible. Tony joined us today from his home in British Columbia to talk about what challenges he faces in trying to create such a company.

Sep 8

1 hr 3 min

The early 90s marked one of the biggest staking rushes in Northwest Territories in northern Canada. A hundred years earlier, people had come pouring into the Canadian north looking for gold. This time around, they were looking for something else... diamonds. At the centre of this new rush was Chuck Fipke and Dia Met Minerals. On this episode of Exploration Radio, let's find out more about Chuck Fipke and his lifelong desire to be an explorer.

Aug 25

1 hr 5 min

Eira Thomas started her career as an exploration geologist when she was part of the team that discovered what became the Diavik Diamond mine, Canada's second major diamond discovery and arguably one of the richest diamond mines in the world. In this episode, we continue our discussion with Eira. We find out what she sees as the future of the diamond industry, particularly in a world where sustainability and corporate social responsibility are playing an increasing important part.

Aug 5

58 min 31 sec

In 1991, a then 20-something year old Eira Thomas set off to explore for diamonds in the Canadian North. This led to her being involved in the discovery of what was to become the Diavik Diamond mine - Canada’s second major diamond discovery and arguably one of the worlds richest diamond mines. Some 30 years later, Eira is still involved in the industry - nowadays she is the CEO of Lucara Diamond Company. Eira was kind enough to sit down with me and share some of her recollections of the Canadian Diamond rush, her subsequent nearly 30 year involvement in the industry and the often untold story of diamonds. This is part 1 of our 2 part interview with Eira. 

Jul 30

1 hr 7 min

At the end of all of our interviews, Steve and I always ask our guests two questions: what is something they think that needs to live or be maintained in the mining industry at all costs; and what is something that needs to die or be jettisoned out of our industry? We thought it would be interesting to put together some of these responses we have received to those questions over the years. So on this episode of Ideas that Must Die and Live in Mining, we are joined by, Justin Strharsky, Michelle Ash, Saleem Ali, Mary Poulton, Marcus Lake, Michelle Carey and Samantha Copeland. Let’s find out what they had to say.

Jul 27

11 min 10 sec

At the end of all of our interviews, Steve and I always ask our guests two questions: what is something they think that needs to live and what is something that needs to die in the mining industry? We thought it would be interesting to put together some of these responses we have received to those questions over the years. So on this episode of Ideas That Must, we are joined by, in order, Mark Bennett, Attila Pentek, Richard Scott, Holly Bridgwater, Mark Bennett (again), Marcus Lake, Michelle Carey, Holly Bridgwater (again), Justin Strharsky and Samantha Copeland. Let’s find out what they had to say.

Jul 20

9 min 41 sec

At the end of all of our interviews, Steve and I always ask our guests two questions: what is something they think that needs to live and what is something that needs to die in the mining industry? We thought it would be interesting to put together some of these responses we have received to those questions over the years. So on this episode of Ideas That Must Die in Mining, we are joined by, in order: Jon Goodman, Attila Pentek, Jon Hronsky, Tony Manini, Hedley Widdup and Mary Poulton. Lets find out what they had to say.

Jul 15

7 min 32 sec

Keith Barron is often referred to as the Indiana Jones of Mining. His search for the Lost Cities of Gold could easily be a movie plot line. But there is so much more to this story than that. 

Jul 8

52 min 8 sec

The elephant in the room is that the mining industry has lost the trust of the most serious investors, causing an exodus of capital that will not return quickly. 

Dec 2020

48 min 53 sec

A common career fork in the road: to stay and be loyal to a company to earn opportunities? Or to leave and pursue challenges elsewhere? That is the question in the minds of many.

Nov 2020

45 min 54 sec

Over the last 4 years, Steve and I have been the interviewers asking all the questions. This time, we are the ones answering the questions. And you the listeners get to find out what you have always wanted to know about Exploration Radio.

Nov 2020

51 min 34 sec

Career paths for executives and managers are usually well established. For technical roles, usually not so. What is Kathy Ehrig's secret to surviving as one for nearly 3 decades at BHP? Learning a new language.

Apr 2020

53 min 35 sec

UNCOVER was an initiative setup to combat the declining rate of mineral discoveries in Australia. There were many good outcomes from the project; NExUS being one. But perhaps in the end, the project struggled to accomplish its main goal - of changing the exploration industry in Australia.

Mar 2020

16 min 49 sec

Over 80 years ago, Walt Disney started teaching his employees how to become better animators. Richard Lilly and NExUS are trying to do the same with geoscientists now.

Mar 2020

45 min 9 sec

Everyone says making changes in big companies is like turning around the Titanic. Find out how Sam Walsh did it for one of the biggest companies in the world. 

Mar 2020

58 min 24 sec

We are obsessed with technology that gives us data in real time. What we really need is the ability to make better decisions in near real time.

Oct 2019

1 hr 4 min

Would early stage exploration be more successful in attracting investment if it was funded by private investors... like how venture capital firms fund startups in other industries. 

Oct 2019

1 hr 6 min

Everyone in the industry has an opinion on how major companies should run exploration. Maybe it is time we have an honest conversation about why these companies have to be different.

Sep 2019

1 hr 1 min

All innovation programs have a 70/30 rule associated with them. Only 30% of the problem is related to the technology. The other 70% is all about people's behaviours. To be successful, you have to solve both.

Sep 2019

1 hr 2 min

Did you know that 3M started off as mining venture in 1902? Over the last 100 years, it has become a materials company. Would mining companies be more sustainable as a business if they were more vertically integrated? Should they do more than just mining?

Aug 2019

40 min 48 sec

Social license issues have become commonplace in mining. In OECD countries, where there are more avenues of industrial development, navigating these has its own risks. We perceive these countries to be low risk for mining development. But is that changing?

Aug 2019

58 min 42 sec

A lot of the debate around data science in mining focuses on the what and the why: what information do geologists and engineers need to learn and why do they need to learn it. But the real question is: how do we learn from each other?

Aug 2019

32 min 55 sec

Mining has always been considered a laggard in adopting real-time analytics when compared to the oil and gas industry. This was not because of a lack of interest. In reality, there were some good reasons why this did not work in mining. Until now.     

Jul 2019

31 min 9 sec

Would academic research be more relevant to industry if academics adopted a more entrepreneurial approach? What could the lean startup model teach researchers?

Jun 2019

19 min 9 sec

A geologist, an engineer, and a social scientist walk into a bar. They discuss how the value proposition of resource development has changed and how we need to evolve it beyond just the economic benefit it provides.

Jun 2019

47 min 25 sec

Bill Joy once said "There are always more smart people outside your company than within it"... So should we be looking at ways to utilise the wisdom of the crowd? Are the many cleverer than the few?

Jun 2019

53 min 28 sec

The role of any entrepreneur, or any startup, is to learn... learn as quickly as possible before you go out of business.

May 2019

1 hr 15 min

Once upon a time, there were Three Princes from Serendip. They had many adventures. One of them involved a camel. This story teaches us a lot about serendipity...and ultimately about scientific discoveries.

May 2019

1 hr

Once upon a time, there were Three Princes from Serendip. They had many adventures. One of them involved a camel. This story teaches us a lot about serendipity...and ultimately about scientific discoveries.

Apr 2019

1 hr 33 min

An exploration geologist and a mine geologist walk into a bar. They start talking about skateboarding and base jumping. What happens next...they learn what those activities can teach them about mining and exploration.

Mar 2019

1 hr 26 min

Working in a big company is like a making a movie. While managing a junior or a startup is like standup comedy. Malcolm Norris joins us to explain why that is. 

Nov 2018

48 min 54 sec

In this class, we talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of starting your own company... and what challenges you face in becoming the architect of your own success and failure. 

Nov 2018

1 hr

If you put a frog into boiling water, it will jump out. But if you put a frog in cold water and slowly boil the water, it will not recognise the danger at all. Does this metaphor apply to how we deal with change in science?

Jun 2018

1 hr 5 min

It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent. But the ones that are the most responsive to change. No better way to describe Peta Libby.

Jun 2018

1 hr

Mining metals on the ocean floor, an asteroid mining company... just some of the ideas Julian Malnic has succeeded with. He is an innovator. And he has 7 lessons for us.

May 2018

38 min 20 sec

We have covered different perspectives on innovation and disruption in the mining and exploration industries. But this time, we get the perspective of someone outside of our industry...and what do they see looking in.

May 2018

42 min 5 sec

The US Marines have a saying..."Everyone wants to get into heaven. But no one wants to die." Is this a metaphor for how we treat new business models?

May 2018

28 min 3 sec

These days, innovation is on everyone's lips in the mining industry. We are all desperate to innovate. But if...we ourselves are the biggest barrier to innovation?

Apr 2018

39 min

Have you ever been made redundant because of the cyclical nature of our industry? Everyone that works in mining knows that the industry is cyclical. There are booms and busts and they control everything. But have you ever wondered why? 

Apr 2018

41 min 21 sec

Steve and Ahmad talk about what lessons they learned about innovation from the CRAESTAR story. 

Mar 2018

8 min 50 sec

Last week, we found out about the beginnings of the CRAESTAR program - a floating exploration base used by CRA to explore for copper in the Pacific islands. This week, we continue the story. How successful was the program in the end? And what lessons did CRA learn from it? 

Mar 2018

30 min 33 sec

The MV CRAESTAR was a retrofitted fishing trawler with a heli-pad and analytical laboratory. It was a floating exploration base, built for speed and efficiency. It was CRA's innovative solution to the challenges of exploring in the Pacific islands. What can this program teach us about innovation on the front line...and what lessons can we learn from it? This episode explores the beginnings of the CRAESTAR program.

Mar 2018

44 min 22 sec

These days, innovation is all around us...a basic requirement in most industries. You either innovate, or you die. So what about the mining industry, often considered a laggard when it comes to technology and innovation. How will it innovate? We talk to Andrew Shook, who has held several technology and innovation roles in BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. In his opinion, innovation can be explained by a single word...change.

Apr 2017

37 min 27 sec

Rover Boys were a crack team of petroleum geologists, exploring the world for the last large surface discoveries of petroleum. This team went anywhere and everywhere. They smoked camel dung and used whiskey as a lion repellent...they were built for adventure. But during their time, the industry transitioned offshore and there was no longer room left for the Rover Boys. In today's episode, we talk to David Kingston who led the real Rover Boys. This story provides a rare look into the future for minerals exploration. We talk a lot about the technology or science of deep exploration but what does this transition feel like. Let's ask Dave Kingston.

Apr 2017

45 min 28 sec

Is Wanderlust just a Jennifer Aniston movie? Or is it something more? Wanderlust is an insatiable thirst for travel, culture, new people...or just the new in general. It has driven many an explorer to search out places where others have not been to or where others will not go. This week we talk to Dan Olberg...an exploration geologist that epitomises the drive it takes to be an explorer.

Apr 2017

32 min 14 sec

It is 1987. As a university student, you show up for your first day of work and are told "you have to leave, you cannot stay here". Why? "Because you are a girl and girls don't work in mines". Does this seem a little far fetched? Well this is how Alex Atkins started her career in mining.

Mar 2017

33 min 47 sec

Alan Moore, a young Australian geologist, heads to a remote, inhospitable part of SW Pakistan to explore for copper. Along the way, he teams up with Saad Husain, a local Pakistani, that becomes his ever present project manager. This is their story and how their work led to the discovery of the Reko Diq deposit. But...it is not your typical discovery story. It is much more than that.

Mar 2017

59 min 12 sec