Creative Exploration Geology. Part 2
By George S. Green, B.A. Geol.
© 2007 George S. Green
All rights Reserved
It is not that the base and precious metals geologist or the coal geologist or the oil and gas geologist does not have the potential to do creatively orientated geological exploration, were they properly educated and/or offered the opportunity to do so; it is that their profession, their science and their exploration practice have (in my opinion) been subverted by the inordinate influence of the formula orientated mining engineer.
This influence and intrusion into the work of, and the profession of the geologist has continued to this day and has now (sadly) been institutionalized in the form of the British Columbia Engineers and Geoscientists Act (duplicates of which have been foisted upon geologists in other provinces).
This Act (in my opinion) undermines geology as a science and invalidates the practice of professional geology as a professional practice. It institutionalizes the predominate influence of the formula orientated mining engineer and diminishes the influence, quality, creativity and authority of the scientific approach to exploration of the geologist. What is being lost in the process is the creative power of science; the power of the creatively orientated geologist to generate mineral discoveries from properly orientated and properly directed geological research and exploration practice.
In British Columbia, the Engineers and Geoscientist Act was put in place to facilitate the establishment of a provincial association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists. Presumably, this was done to bring geologists into an organization where credentials could be checked and standards of ethics could be transmitted to participating members. These are laudable goals to be sure. However, something else is happening.
Almost by its very structure, the B.C. Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists fails to provide for any recognition of geologists as geologists. There seems to be no recognition of geology as a science. No recognition that geological exploration is indeed a scientific practice and no recognition of Professional Geology as a professional practice.
There is no assured representation for geologists (as geologists) upon the governing council of the association. There is (circa 1992) provision for a minimum of eight governing councilors, one of which must be a geoscientist. However, this could be a geochemist or a geophysicist, either one of which could be and most likely would be an engineer. Hence there is essentially or potentially no representation for geologists as geologists upon the governing council. Under this Act, and within this organization, a geologist cannot even place P.Geol. (Professional Geologist) after his or her name. One must use the euphemistic P.Geo. (Professional Geoscientist) instead.
Geologists should form and be in their own sovereign, independent professional association. That association should be properly identified as an Association of Professional Geologists.
Past opposition to the establishment of an Association of Professional Geologists in B.C. apparently came from within the fields of geochemistry and geophysics. Should these two fields of practice come under the jurisdiction of an Association of Professional Geologists? These two fields of practice, in respect to minerals exploration, are the principle tools of the property evaluation mining engineer. Perhaps those involved did not want these two fields of practice to come under the authority of an Association of Professional Geologists. The term geoscientist may have come from within these ranks. Was the intent to keep geologists from forming their own professional association? Or did geologists assume too much of these two fields of study relative to their own manner of exploration practice?
The public should be able to see clearly that geologists handle exploration while engineers handle mining. The historical intrusion of the mining engineer into the exploration side of the exploration and development equation should be corrected. The formula orientated agenda of the mining engineer should be replaced with the scientific agenda of the geologist. To assure this, requires the establishment of an independent Association of Professional Geologists.
Additionally, the B.C. Engineers and Geoscientists Act was, it seems, imposed upon geologists. To the best of my knowledge, there was no notice, no solicitation of views and opinions, and no vote. As I recall, there was a group of geologists in Ontario, with a fledgling Association of Professional Geologists in place; it seemed to me at the time, to be the only group of geologists to object. They did not get any support from there fellow geologists in British Columbia, or it seems, from anywhere or anyone else. They were simply run over.
Will geologists in British Columbia ever stand up for their own science and profession? Do they even know that there is something wrong?
Look at it this way. What happens when you take a manner of exploration practice that statistically fails 97% of the time, and you condition geologists to adopt it as being a valid manner of exploration practice. For years, you condition geologists to accept this as being THE way to do it. Even geology students at universities are encouraged to see this as being the way to do it. And then you go on to simultaneously invalidate the profession of geologist while bringing those geologists into an organization dominated by the very same people responsible for authoring this ineffective manner of exploration practice! What happens?
Might that geologist's perception of reality become warped? Might their own perception of how their own science might operate, also become warped? Might this bending of perceptions go on to warp the perceptions of others associated with these industries? How might the investor who invests in these people and their practices then perceive things?
Perhaps those involved, in all cases, have become so conditioned to the way things are, that they simply are not capable of realizing that there is something amiss.
I had a prospector come up to me at a convention once, and he said to me; "I have these claims and these assays, what do I do next?" I said to him; "you need to get a geologist to do a preliminary geological report on your property". Before I could proceed to tell him what this involved and what he could do with it, he interrupted me and said; "No, no, I do not need a geologist, I need an engineer!" I gave him a curious look and asked; "why do you need an engineer? "He replied; "because I need that sticker; that stamp on my report, so I can raise money".
He could have done the same thing with a geologist's report but did not know how to do it. He was certain that a professional sticker or stamp from an engineer was the preferred way to go.
The engineer would have simply hired a geologist to do the work and then have charged him for the work, plus something for his office to handle it. The point is, geologists in British Columbia have lost a lot of work to the offices of engineers this way, and this prospector paid the price of both. Usually geologists in this position got less for their work than they would have, had they a proper professional association of their own to represent them and their interests in securing this kind of work.
This sort of thing does not impress me and many would argue now, that with this new association of professional geoscientists in place, things will be better. I think it means, that it is more likely, that things are going to remain the same.
They have institutionalized something that is conceptually flawed, and they do not know it. They have been caught up in the flow of history. Mining engineers were the ones called upon by mining companies to evaluate newly acquired property. Geologists were simply those people you hired to identify the rocks and minerals, the faults and the folds and other things geological. Who needs them and their hypotheses?
Geologists have not been very forthright in standing up for their profession in British Columbia. For many years they thought, that as long as you had a degree from a recognized university, you were qualified to practice as a geologist, and after five years or so, you were allowed by convention to call yourself a professional. The geologists who grew up under this convention resisted the idea of forming a professional association. They did not think it to be necessary.
Most of this has taken place in an environment dominated by engineers. Geologists in British Columbia have been trained to serve in a capacity designed for them by engineers. Property evaluation substitutes for true exploration. Now, they have to go an Association of Professional Engineers to get their "license" to practice as a "geo-scientist".
Geologists are sometimes too independent for their own good. They did not look after their profession. They did not defend their science. They have been herded into an institutional relationship that is (in my opinion) neither good for them, nor good for the exploration and mining industry; and not at all good for the investment community.
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