Fundamentals of Coal Exploration

The NSW Institute for Frontier Geoscience professional development course Fundamentals of Coal Exploration is designed to provide an overview of advanced skills required to be a competent coal geologist operating within the work standards determined by the Australian Coal Industry. It will run over five, 8-hour days and will include an assignment to be completed when, or after, the course is completed. The course outlines the fundamental principles of coal exploration and management; an explanation and assessment of current exploration techniques from traditional mapping, drilling and wireline logging procedures, to more sophisticated airborne and surface geophysics.  The course will also include a preliminary understanding of exploration management, especially related to exploration strategies. The course focuses on the ‘initial stages’ of coal mining activities related to exploiting an economic coal resource.

Course Structure

  • Introduction to traditional methods of coal exploration
  • Introduction of exploration management, especially developing exploration strategies at the preliminary exploration stage
  • Survey methods and accuracy
  • Airborne geophysics
  • Surface geophysics
  • Wireline geophysics
  • Drilling considerations and procedures at the exploration stage
  • NSW Mining authority titles and other legislation (OH&S, environmental)

Course Duration

The postgraduate training course consists of at least 40 contact hours as part of the 5-day intensive, an assessable practicals designed to demonstrate the fundamental elements of coal exploration relevant to the course objectives. This course will also include a one day field trip to a mine / exploration lease site.

Course Venue

To be announced. Most likely the NIER Site, Callaghan Campus, The University of Newcastle NSW.


Morning tea and afternoon tea is provided each day. If you have any specific dietary requirements please contact Nicole Weaver

Course Cost


Receive Early Bird discount of $500.

Delegation Discount is also available

If you register 3 or more delegates from your organisation, receive a 50% discount on the 3rd delegate's registration fee.

* The Early Bird discount and the Delegation discount cannot be taken in conjunction with one another.

Multiple Registration Discount available

If this is the third IFG Professional Development Training Course you may be eligible for a 20% discount on enrolment.

Who should complete this course

This course is part of the professional development training program for early to mid-career employees to improve and/or broaden their skill base, to become effective and efficient members of a working team. This course provides the essential knowledge and management skills required for coal geologists to integrate field/drilling data with remote sensing techniques to make an informed decision of the economic potential of an exploration lease. The course provides an in-depth understanding of the principles and techniques behind estimating the feasibility of mining a newly discovered coal deposit. An overview of legislative procedures is presented, as an introduction to a more specialized course ‘Principles of Geological Information Management, Geological Modelling and Coal Resource Estimation’.

Entry requirement is a BSc degree or three (3) years experience as a Coal Geologist in the Industry.


The 5-day intensive will include a major essay / written assignment that will be provided to students at the completion of the 5 days. The assignment is aimed at assessing the practical learning objectives.

What certification will I receive?

A Certificate of Attainment will be awarded for successful completion and a mark and grading will be recorded for the course.


The course may be transferred to a relevant postgraduate or Masters Program in the Faculty of Science and Information Technology. Please contact GradSchool for further advice.

About the Course Convenor

John has a B.Sc.(Geol) from the University of Newcastle, and a M.App.Sc.(Mining Geomechanics) from the University of New South Wales.

He has over 30 years experience in mining and exploration, during which period he worked extensively in both green-fields and brown-fields exploration in Qld and NSW, and has developed a very strong experience base in mine operations and design.

As Regional Geologist for Coal & Allied in the Newcastle coalfield he developed his interest in geotechnical engineering – specifically in the areas of roof support, mine layout design and subsidence engineering, then as Chief Geologist for Coal Operations Australia Ltd. John was instrumental in the redevelopment of Moonee Colliery as a longwall coal mine and designed the exploration program for the Wyong Coal Project.

John has been consulting to the mining industry since 2000. In that time he has undertaken the development, review and audit of geological risk management systems, developed and administered R&D management systems, coordinated geoscience data for mine design projects and undertaken extensive due diligence assessments both in Australia and overseas.

Professional Affiliations

John is a Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. A Past Chairman of the Coalfield Geology Council of NSW and an inaugural member of ACARP Underground Research Sub-Committee. He is co-author of Chapter 4 – Exploration of Coal Deposits in the recently published Monograph 12, Australasian Coal Mining Practice, third edition for the AusIMM, and a Competent Person under the JORC Code for the Estimation of Resources and Reserves.

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