All posts in WA

IAHWA – June Technical Presentation

Transformation of Geophysical properties into Hydrogeological and Engineering parameters

The Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (ASEG) is hosting Geoff Pettifer from GDH  (also an IAHWA member) for a technical presentation with all IAH members welcome to attend.

When: Thursday 18 June 2015, 5:30 for 6pm start
Where: City West Function Centre, 45 Plaistowe Mews, West Perth
Registration: Free for IAH members. Please register by Midnight 16th June.
Registration link:

In this presentation Geoff will discuss the factors relevant to transformation of Geophysical properties into Hydrogeological and Engineering parameters (G2HE).

The factors discussed, by no means a complete list, are Empiricism, Scalability, Resolution, Uncertainty, Clay and Experience. Understanding and considering these factors is integral to acceptance and transformation of measured and modelled geophysical properties into hydrogeological and/or geotechnical parameters.

A limited review of the literature is given, and experiences of real-world commercial constraints are discussed along with some published case examples to illustrate applications and limitations. Recommendations are made for a suggested way forward to improve the practice and gain acceptance of geophysical transformations. Continue Reading →

IAHWA – May Technical Presentation – Hydrogeology of the West Canning Basin

Influence of Conceptual Model Uncertainty on Recharge Processes for the Wallal Aquifer System in the West Canning Basin

When                   20th May 2015, 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Where                  Fortescue Centre, Level 3/87 Adelaide Tce, East Perth WA.

Fellowship 5:30-6pm (Plain Street Bar). Presentation upstairs from 6pm.

IAH Western Australia is pleased to host Jon Hanna who will present recent work undertaken at the West Canning Basin

Multiple numerical models were used to test whether conceptual model uncertainty and different degrees of hydrogeological complexity mattered in replicating a recharge signal and sustainable yield from a large regional aquifer system. The Wallal Aquifer is a predominantly confined aquifer in the West Canning Basin Western Australia. 3-D geological modelling was used to create multiple realisations of the stratigraphy using a range of possible depositional and post depositional processes. Each of the geological models was discretised into groundwater flow models and calibrated. The modelling tested if surficial recharge from cyclonic events in the south of the study area occurs as a widely spread diffuse flux, or is limited to discrete recharge windows potentially associated with palaeochannels. This study was completed as part of an MSc research project finalised in 2014.

 This talk is presented by Jon Hanna, a Senior Hydrogeologist who currently works for the Resource Planning Hydrology team at BHP Billiton Iron Ore. Jon has completed a MSc in 2013 with particular focus on the West Canning Basin.

This event is free to attend. Registration isn’t required.

Registration Open! – Water Management for Shale and Tight Gas Resources – IAH Western Australia Annual Seminar


It is with great pleasure that we announce the early-bird registrations for the 2015 Seminar – Water Management for Shale and Tight Gas Resources are now open!!! This seminar will be held on June, 8-9 at the Parmelia Hilton in the Perth CBD.

Program, more information and registration details can be found at

Co-convened by the Western Australia branches of IAH, SPE and ASEG

Western Australian AGM 2014 and Student Night

Wednesday 19 November 2014

5:30 socialising, 6:00 pm program start

FMG Training Rooms, Level 3, 87 Plain Street corner of Adelaide Terrace and Plain Street.

The Western Australian Chapter will hold their Annual General Meeting and the 2014 Student Night at a new location at Fortescue Metals Group (full directions below).

This is an important opportunity for you to get involved and become a committee member for 2015. Last year’s committee, and nominations for 2015 are shown below.  Note that you can nominate yourself (or a friend, with their permission) for ANY position on the board. The position descriptions are shown on a separate page. Fill out the nomination form and BRING IT ALONG or mail it to the Secretary Mariajose Romero-Segura. You can also get a form on the night (and even a pen).

We will also be going out to dinner afterwards as a group to Joe’s Oriental Diner.  Please let Mariajose Romero-Segura if you’d like to join the fun so we can reserve tables.


Current Officer



Chairperson – State Liaison Grant Bolton Ian Brandes de Roos Grant Bolton
Vice Chairperson Ian Brandes de Roos Mariajose Romero-Segura Ian Brandes de Roos
Secretary Mariajose Romero-Segura Mariajose Romero-Segura
Treasurer Peter de Broekert  Peter de Broekert
Meetings Secretary Todd Hodgkin Todd Hodgkin
Ministerial  Liaison Keith Brown Keith Brown
Education Representative Ryan Vogwill Ryan Vogwill
Media Liaison Robin Smith Ryan Vogwill Robin Smith
Membership Champion Mariajose Romero-Segura Mariajose Romero-Segura
Presenter Coordinator Geoff Pettifer, Pauline Amez-Droz Pauline Amez-Droz Geoff Pettifer
Seminar Coordinator Geoff Pettifer, Pauline Amez-Droz Geoff Pettifer Pauline Amez-Droz
Sponsorship Champion Bradley van Blomestein Bradley van Blomestein
Newsletter Champion Keith Brown Keith Brown
Newsletter Assistant Melissa Nyga Melissa Nyga
Web Champion Eduardo de Sousa Eduardo de Sousa
Web Assistant John Enkelmann and Lynn Reid Lynn Reid and John Enkelmann
State Liaison Philip Commander Grant Bolton Philip Commander
ECHN Champion Rachel Wroe Rachel Wroe
Student Champion Gemma Bloomfield Gemma Bloomfield

Student Night

Presentations will follow the brief AGM.  Three hydrogeology students will present their research and vie for a monetary prize.

  • Daniel HearnUWA Honours Degree: Source, fate and mobility of groundwater nutriends, metals/metaloids, and organic wastewater contaminants in the unconfined Broome Aquifer.
  • Evan Heazlewood – Curtin University Honours Degree: Analytical techniques employed to gauge the redox conditions in a shallow aquifer; a comparison of ion selective electrode (ISE) analysis versus ion chromatography (IC)
  • Malinda Kay – UWA MSc Student: Hydrogeology of the North Gnangara Groundwater System

Getting to FMG:

To reach the training rooms, enter FMG’s main entrance on the corner of Adelaide Terrace and Plain Street. Take the elevator to the 3rd floor.

–There are bus stops in each direction just outside FMG on Adelaide Terrace. It is within the Free Transit Zone, so all buses to/from the city are free.

— There is ample City of Perth paid parking just around the corner on Plain Street, towards the river. There is also parking underneath FMG/Hyatt for those who don’t want to walk a block., and valet parking is available.

— There is a public taxi stand located at the Hyatt next door.

WA chapter monthly talk : Airborne EM for Hydrogeology in the Perth Basin

Wednesday 19 February 2014

5:30 socialising, 6:00 pm program start

The Melbourne Hotel, corner of Hay and Milligan Streets

The Western Australian Chapter is proud to announce the first monthly talk on Airborn EM for Hydrogeology in the Perth Basin, by Nathan Tabain.



The city of Perth, Western Australia is likely to face an increasingly large water shortage. Currently the main source of Perth’s water is derived from aquifers located within the Perth Basin. To manage increasing pressure on water resources, long-term predictive groundwater models have been created by the Western Australian Government. These models need to account for all major hydrogeological structures. This thesis explores the application of 1D airborne electromagnetic inversion to identify key large-scale hydrogeological features in the Perth Basin.  Identification of large-scale hydrogeological features is necessary if groundwater models are to successfully predict impacts of different water usage scenarios.

Airborne electromagnetics is a frequently used geophysical technique allowing for the rapid acquisition of data over a wide variety of terrain. The electromagnetics method is used to map the distribution of conductivity within the sub-surface. This technique has been utilised extensively for hydrogeological applications.

An airborne electromagnetic survey spanning approximately 1,600 square km’s including some 400,000 soundings required inversion. Geoelectrical seed models necessary for the inversion were generated and constrained by 2D reflection seismic and resistivity wireline logs. Ultimately a seed model that gave a close fit to the measured data and reasonable correlation to the bore hole and seismic data was selected to perform 1D inversions on all airborne electromagnetic lines which intersected the major fault in the area; the Badaminna Fault. The limitations of the inversion process and results were also explored. The inverted conductivities were subsequently gridded in 3D to generate a located 3D volume of conductivities.

The 3D volume of conductivities derived from the airborne electromagnetic inversions revealed several large and hydrogeologically significant features. Of particular note is the Badaminna Fault Zone. The top of the Badaminna Fault Zone is clearly visible as a north striking relatively conductive feature. Basic interpretation of a 2D seismic line intersecting the Badaminna Fault Zone enabled geological structures to be identified, including a clear displacement across the fault zone. This displacement may facilitate or prevent recharge/discharge across aquifers on either side of the fault.

Other large-scale hydrogeological features revealed within the 3D conductivity volume included expansive, electrically conductive, potentially confining layers on both sides of the Badaminna Fault. The characterisation of the potential confining formation is of particular importance, as clay bearing layers typically prevent the movement of water between aquifers. An expansive thick zone of continuous rock has been identified in the centre of the 3D volume and may be the site of a window where major aquifers meet near the surface. Additional potential major faulting and near-surface formation boundaries were also identified.

The geological features identified and characterised in this project can be integrated into a large-scale hydrogeological flow model, improving the accuracy of known groundwater movement. This will assist in securing Perth’s groundwater supply for the future.


Brief Biography


Nathan Tabain is a Geophysics Graduate from Curtin University. He graduated with a Bachelor degree in 2012 and continued his studies in 2013 by enrolling in Honours. The dissertation topic chosen during Honours was “Airborne EM for Hydrogeology in the Perth Basin”, supervised by Dr. Brett Harris and Dr. Andrew Pethick. His honours presentation was awarded “Best Student Presentation” by the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists – WA Division. In November 2013 he completed his Honours degree and was awarded First Class Honours.

Nathan will be commencing his Geoscience career as a Geometallurgist Graduate with Rio Tinto Iron Ore in February 2013, having completed a Summer Vacation Program with Rio Tinto the previous year.


CGG is generously sponsoring the event. CGG is a fully integrated Geoscience company providing leading geological, geophysical and reservoir capabilities to its broad base of customers primarily from the global oil and gas industry. Through its three complementary business divisions of Equipment, Acquisition and Geology, Geophysics & Reservoir (GGR), CGG brings value across all aspects of natural resource exploration and exploitation.


Western Australian AGM and Student Night

Wednesday 20 November 2013

5:30 socialising, 6:00 pm program start

The Melbourne Hotel, corner of Hay and Milligan Streets

The Western Australian Chapter will hold their Annual General Meeting and the 2013 Student Night at the Melbourne Hotel.

This is an important opportunity for you to get involved and become a committee member for 2014. Last year’s committee, and nominations for 2014 are shown below.  Note that you can nominate yourself (or a friend, with their permission) for ANY position on the board. The position descriptions are shown on a separate page. Fill out the nomination form: IAH_CommitteeRolesPositions_NominationForm_2014.doc and BRING IT ALONG or mail it to the Secretary Mariajose Romero-Segura. You can also get a form on the night (and even a pen).

We will also be going out to dinner afterwards as a group to the Melbourne Hotel.  Please let Mariajose Romero-Segura if you’d like to join the fun so we can reserve tables.


Current Officer



Chairperson – State Liaison Grant Bolton Grant Bolton
Vice Chairperson Ian Brandes de Roos Ian Brandes de Roos
Secretary Mariajose Romero-Segura Mariajose Romero-Segura
Treasurer Peter de Broekert  Peter de Broekert
Meetings Secretary Carl Davies

Carl Davies

Ministerial  Liaison Jed Youngs Keith Brown

Jed Youngs

Education Representative Ryan Vogwill Ryan Vogwill
Media Liaison Robin Smith Robin Smith
Membership Champion Genevieve Marchand Genevieve Marchand
Presenter and Seminar Coordinator Geoff Pettifer Pauline Amez-Droz
Presenter and Seminar Assistant Geoff Pettifer
Sponsorship Champion Bradley van Blomestein Bradley van Blomestein
Newsletter Champion Keith Brown Keith Brown (combined with Ministerial liaison)
Newsletter Assistant Gillian Hurding Pauline Amez-Droz Gillian Hurding
Web Champion Lynn Reid Eduardo de Sousa Lynn Reid
Web Assistant John Enkelmann Lynn Reid and John Enkelmann
State Liaison Philip Commander Philip Commander
ECHN Champion Rachel Wroe
Student Champion Gemma Bloomfield

Presentations will follow the AGM.  Three students will present their research and vie for a $500 prize.  Their research topics and a brief abstract are shown below.

Alexander Salomon – Honours Student Curtin University

 Distribution and possible sources of high nitrate concentrations in groundwater aquifers used for potable supply in Aboriginal communities, Central Western Australia.

High levels of naturally occurring nitrate are present in many of the groundwater aquifers which supply potable water to remote Aboriginal communities of the northern Goldfields and southern Pilbara regions. Recent monitoring conducted by the Remote Areas Essential Services Program (RAESP) has indicated that concentrations in some communities far exceed the Australian Drinking Water Guideline (ADWG) health thresholds. Nitrate levels also fluctuate significantly over time, with possible links to climate, making it difficult to plan and implement treatment processes to reduce nitrate concentrations in the potable supply. While nitrate contamination is usually associated with anthropogenic sources, it is suggested that the high concentrations of nitrate in central Western Australia are naturally occurring due to the low population density and highly isolated and pristine nature of these communities. Three potential nitrate sources have been identified, including nitrogen fixation by bacteria on the roots of Acacia species, solubilisation of ammonia rich waste metabolites from termite mounds, and nitrogen in the surrounding geology (in particular evaporite deposits and organic rich sediments). Leaching studies undertaken have demonstrated that, of the three potential source materials, termite mounds in particular may well be capable of producing leachate rich enough in nitrate to potentially affect the groundwater. It is hoped that a new understanding of the probable nitrate source will assist development of bore field management strategies that seek to minimise nitrate levels in potable supply.


Nicholas Wright – Honours Student Curtin

Hydrogeology and Hydrochemistry of the Unconfined Aquifer of the Broome Peninsula

To further the ongoing investigations in to the Lyngbya blooms in Roebuck Bay a hydrogeological and hydrochemical investigation of the Broome Peninsula was completed with significant results. The unconfined aquifer of the Broome Peninsula is made of an 8-12 m thick layer of Pindan Sand underlain by Broome Sandstone. A multifaceted empirical approach was taken to quantify the hydraulic conductivity of the surficial sediments, which suggested a horizontal hydraulic conductivity of 1.7 m/day for the Pindan Sand. Groundwater levels were typically elevated in the centre of the peninsula and were lowest near the ocean. This confirms previous investigations which indicated that groundwater outflow to the ocean occurs on all sides of the Broome Peninsula, excluding the area to the North East where groundwater inflow from the regional unconfined aquifer occurs. Given that most wastewater disposal sites are south of the centre of the Peninsula, any contamination present will be migrating towards Roebuck Bay.

Nutrient contamination was clearly identified and the associated submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) flux was estimated, including the likely range. In most instances these locations were directly linked to the wastewater treatment facility and wastewater disposal sites located within Broome. The causal relationship between nutrient contamination and Lyngbya blooms has been well established in previous works. The current study indicates that there is significant potential for nutrients from wastewater disposal in Broome to be contributing to Lyngbya blooms in Roebuck Bay via groundwater pathways.


John Hemson – Honours Student UWA

 Interaction between waste fines and groundwater; implication on water quantity and quality of a Channel Iron Deposit aquifer.

The Rio Tinto (RTIO) Yandicoogina (Yandi) mining operation is located approximately 85km northwest of Newman within the East Pilbara shire, Western Australia. The mining operation consists of extracting profitable ore from the largest Channel Iron Deposit (CID) discovered worldwide. To meet market product specifications, the ore is refined through a beneficiation process, leaving a waste fines product that is stored on site as a slurry composition in purposely built waste fine cells (WFC’s) within the mined out CID. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of storing the waste fines slurry in WFC’s on the underlying groundwater quality and quantity, in pit water levels and the dewatering regime; a prerequisite for improved water management on site.

An integrated investigation into aquifer hydraulics and environmental tracers; chloride (Cl-) and stable isotopes (Deuterium (δ2H), Oxygen (δ18O)) are used to trace and quantify seepage from WFC2. The water stored within WFC2 has increased Cl- concentrations, enriched δ2H and δ18O signatures in comparison to groundwater within the underlying aquifer. This is a result of the water stored in WFC2 being exposed to a high degree of evaporation. A shallow seepage flow path exists between WFC2 and the down gradient section of the CID as the Cl- concentrations and δ2H and δ18O signatures in the shallow monitoring bores and the down gradient sump approach those within WFC2. From December 2012 onwards; the water abstracted by the down gradient sump is 100% WFC2 seepage. An analytical WFC2 water balance as well as a Cl- and stable isotope mass balance has accurately quantified seepage into the underlying aquifer and the down gradient mining pits. Over time, as the volume of water stored within WFC2 increases, an elevated hydraulic head and a steeper hydraulic gradient has been created between WFC2, underlying aquifer and the down gradient section of the CID, resulting in greater seepage. Therefore, the seepage from WFC2 has caused elevated in pit water levels, manifested by increased sump pumping rates to maintain dry in pit mining conditions, allowing efficient extraction of the economic ore. Overall, this study has provided essential information to refine the RTIO Yandi water balance, an important requirement in the production of sustainable water management and the formulation of a realistic closure plan.

Dewatering in the Australian mining and oil & gas industries

Wednesday 16 October 2013

If you missed it, this presentation is now available at Airwell’s website!

Alan Brown will provide an overview of issues that need to be considered when undertaking a dewatering project before preparing reports and making recommendations to the clients. Using Alan’s extensive experience in providing pumping solutions for dewatering issues, Alan will take an in-depth look into five main areas that need to be considered:

  1. Location — distance from infrastructure to operate a pumping system such as electrical power and the cost to establish.
  2. Variable flow rates — in most dewatering situations the initial flow rates may be high but the flow rates are likely to fall as the dewatering project progresses.  Pumps initially installed may no longer be suitable to handle these lower flow rates.
  3. Water conditions — water conditions vary from site to site and even bore to bore. From high pH readings to bores containing significant amounts of grit or suspended solids.  Many pumps cannot operate long term in some of these conditions.
  4. Costs — With lower commodity prices and global market uncertainty, without exception all mining and oil and gas companies are critically reviewing the cost of every project before implementation. All product and service providers are expected to produce a solution or product that is cost acceptable to them.
  5. OH&S, site safety and operational issues — Can the recommended solution be implemented safely with minimal operational disturbance to the site and ongoing mine site safety?

Alan will detail what Airwell is doing to overcome many of these key factors and provide an overview of Airwell designs and initiatives for dewatering and gas well control management equipment.

Following the presentation will be time for a question and answer session.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPresenter Alan Brown is the founder and inventor of the Airwell Direct Air Displacement Pumping system and the current Management Director of Airwell Group Pty Ltd. He has devoted much of the past 30 years to improving the original Airwell pumping system and the custom designing of systems to suit pumping situations for many of Australia’s largest mining and industrial companies. Alan’s extensive knowledge of all pumping methods allows him to design systems incorporating a number of pumping methods to provide the best solution to the client.


HeadShot DavidDavid Thatcher has been working for Airwell Group since 2011 and manages the sales and marketing activities both in WA and nationally. David’s computing skills also makes him popular in he office. He as a bachelor’s degree in Commerce with majors in Marketing and PR from Curtin University.

Airwell Group



Company Airwell Group Pty Ltd is the manufacturer and supplier of the unique Airwell Direct Air Displacement water pumping systems.  In addition to Airwell customises and provides specialised pumping solutions to all industries for dewatering, pollution recovery and explosive environment.  Our products and services include:

  • Pump Flow Testing services
  • Environment bore sampling services
  • Bore, sump and floating Airwell pumps
  • Intrinsically safe pumping systems
  • Remote telemetry options
  • A full range of electric pumps and other pump methods
  • Sales, hire, installation and service of all pumping equipment 


Models in mining: art and science in modelling

Wednesday 21 August 2013

5:30 socialising, 6:00 pm program start

The Melbourne Hotel, corner of Hay and Milligan Streets



Talk to any miner and ask what their biggest issue is and its invariably something to do with water; too much; too little; wrong place; wrong time. In an operational mining space plans are transient and we as hydrogeological practitioners in the industry need to be looking at ways that we can help the mining process either through enabling smoother operations or allowing the miner to have the flexibility to sprint or stall without being penalised by water issues. Wednesday’s talk by Keith Brown discusses some alternative options available in the modelling space that may help.


Keith Brown from Rio Tinto has worked in the groundwater industry for more than twenty five years; for the last decade he has worked in Western Australia mainly in iron ore.  He has developed and run integrated mine groundwater management strategies, including models, that encompass all phases of the mine asset from conceptual, through to the planning and construction of operational mines and mine closure.


Pizza and Pint Night with the Experts

Early Career Hydrogeologists Network hosts an information and  networking event

Wednesday 3rd July at 5.45 pm

MWH, Level 5,190 St Georges Terrace, Perth

Early Career logo PizzaPint

A panel of six experts will each provide a short 5 to 10 min talk about their chosen career path.  The plan is to keep things fairly informal (so there will be no PowerPoint in sight!) rather the opportunity for an interactive group Q&A session.  This will be timed nicely with the arrival of pizza (and topping up of drinks!) giving you the chance to pose any other questions you may have to our experts on a 1-to-1 basis.  And just in case 6 industry specialists aren’t enough, we’ve invited another handful of fantastic expert hydros to come along and mingle with us.

Experts Biographies will be available soon,  to give you the opportunity to think up any specific questions in advance.

The ECHNiA is the Australian chapter of the Early Career Hydrogeologists’ Network, which is a subgroup of the IAH. One of our primary aims is to provide support in information sharing, networking and strengthening the status of early career hydrogeologists within the IAH.  With this in mind, we’ve asked our experts to think up any questions they may wish to ask of you too. If you think you can offer any insight from an unusual project, or some cutting-edge research you may be involved with, please let us know.

Please RSVP via and remember, spaces are limited so we need to allocate them on a first-come, first-served basis.  Don’t delay!

Thanks to MWH Australia for hosting the event.


High resolution seismic for gold and base metal exploration

The WA Branch of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists is hosting a CHANGED Tech Night presented by Greg Turner of HiSeis.

When: Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Time: Registration from 5:30pm for a 6:00pm start
Where: City West Function Centre, 45 Plaistowe Mews, West Perth
Non Members $30.00
Registration: Click here to register  — please indicate you are an IAH member OR just show up at the door.


The increasing scarcity of near-surface mineral deposits has created demand for technologies and approaches which can improve the effectiveness of exploration for deeper deposits.

Seismic reflection has the ability both to:

  • directly map some mineralization styles and
  • map the litho-structural setting in which mineralisation occurs.

The understanding of seismic in hard-rock environments has improved significantly. It can produce images with a resolution of 15m cubes down to depths of several kilometers mapping small changes in rock density or velocity associated with mineralisation, alteration, lithological changes and structures.

Greg will discuss how to evaluate the potential of seismic in new hard rock environments and present some examples of its successful application seismic in mineral exploration and mine planning.

About the Speaker

Greg is currently Director Business Development with HiSeis which specialises in the use of reflection seismic in hard rock environments. He has 25 years of experience in high resolution geophysics for brownfields exploration, mining and geotechnical applications including involvement in the first 3D seismic surveys in coal and hard rock environments in Australia. He has a BSc (Hons) from Monash and PhD from Macquarie and is a member of ASEG, AusIMM, SUT and AGS.

Australian Society of Exploration Geophysics IAHLOGO

CSIRO is generously sponsoring drinks and nibbles at the event.