Dec '06/Jan '07

2006 GeoSoc field conference a huge success

By D. J. Duff

Dan Brisbin (right), conference organizing committee chairman, receives a hearty congratulations from Damien Duff on a job well done.
Just when we thought we couldn’t get any better at doing these field conferences, Dan Brisbin and his crew of co-organizers in Saskatoon stepped up to the plate and put on an absolutely marvellous event in Saskatoon between September 10 and 14. This event represented a “return to its roots,” as it were, for GeoSoc field conferences. The first, in 1991, was also held here.
 
This year’s conference was located at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Saskatoon and the theme - as one might expect in Saskatchewan - had a uranium focus and was titled: Uranium: Athabasca Deposits and Analogues.
 
The formal part of the meeting kicked-off with an Icebreaker Reception on Sunday evening, followed by two days of excellent talks, given by some of the best qualified speakers in the uranium exploration and mining business. The conference was divided into four subsections over the course of the two days of lectures, with a Monday luncheon speaker, Kevin Sissons, from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission also delivering an interesting talk.
 
As we usually find with our field conferences, there was no problem attracting a large attendance to the event, with 237 delegates registered. The format for these shows lends itself beautifully to providing ample opportunities for networking and other informal gatherings, formal lectures, and, of course, field trips. Further, with uranium prices at such high levels, the amount of exploration interest is huge, particularly in the Athabasca Basin, the focus of this event. Some of the largest and highest grade deposits in the world are to be found there.
 
The opening technical session on Monday entitled Geological Settings and Genesis of Uranium Mineralization provided a sound basis to move onto the lectures after lunch, which were devoted to Exploration Methods and Applications. The Tuesday morning session had a distinct Athabasca Basin focus and was entitled Athabasca Basin Uranium Deposits. Possible national
and international analogues were discussed in the afternoon session entitled Geology of Athabasca Basin Analogues. Finally, Vlad Sopuck of Cameco did a superb job of summing up the technical sessions, with an interesting and entertaining overview of the uranium business.
 
Between formal lectures, delegates had the chance to discuss research projects focused on uranium at the poster session. There were 10 posters on display, which were popular with delegates, and, furthermore, gave a great opportunity to students and other researchers alike to mix it up with industry representatives from around the world.
 
There was a significant overseas interest in this conference, with 27 registrants among the crowd attending from Argentina, Australia, China, France, Japan, Romania, and the United States. In this respect, this meeting was one of those with the most “international appeal” of recent GeoSoc field conferences.
 
An accompanying trade show at these events has become de rigeur and 23 exhibitors used the conference to showcase their wares. The location of the booths, so close to where formal lectures were taking place, provided a number of opportunities over coffee and lunch to allow exhibitors and delegates alike to discuss the latest and greatest in uranium exploration and mining-focused technology.
 
Four post-conference field trips got underway almost immediately after the Saskatoon event had finished. Attendance at all was at or near capacity according to Brisbin. Registrants had the chance to either visit Cigar Lake, McLean and Rabbit Lake-Eagle Point, McArthur River-Key Lake-Millennium-Moore Lake, or Cluff Lake and Shea Creek deposits, or to simply view the extensive mineralized core collection at the La Ronge Core Library.
 
The GeoSoc executive views these field conferences to be one of the critical elements in providing opportunities for our membership to network with industry colleagues while receiving some very valuable professional upgrading. We will thus endeavor to hold one every two to three years or as demand requires. We sincerely congratulate and thank once again Dan Brisbin and his crew at the Saskatoon section and encourage you all to check out these field conferences when you get a chance. They are really not to be missed!
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