Andrew Jaunzems

Following completion of my 3 years honours degree in Geological Science at Leeds, I took the role of Exploration Geologist with Rio Tinto Exploration. The role is based out of Perth, Australia with my particular focus on Iron Ore Exploration in the North West Pilbara region. As a graduate geologist, the role encompasses a wide range of tasks ranging from drill planning through to project execution and analysis.

Much of the planning aspect is completed in the Perth office. However, there is always a chance to spent time with boots on the ground. Geological mapping also, as ever, plays an important part in any exploration programme. Similar opportunities to spend time in the field include botanical (identifying and protecting rare fauna in the area) and heritage (working with archaeologists and Traditional Owners to protect Aboriginal heritage and artefacts) surveys.

During drilling phases, a graduate geologist's main responsibilities in the field are to log the chips or core produced by the drilling programmes and build up a better geological understanding of the area you are working in. Typically we stay in tents with a few caravans providing office, kitchen and shower room facilities - for those who love the outdoors it is perfect! The working days are long, but the job is incredibly rewarding.

After drilling, the major focus is building a geological model and analysis of the region and any ore body that you may be targeting. This is often done with the help of 3D software such as Geosoft and Vulcan. My role also includes reporting the relevant annual and expenditure reports to the Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum.

One great aspect of the role has been the opportunity to travel as part of work. Already in the first year, this has included attending drilling safety initiatives in Mongolia and spending 2 months of exploration in India.

A combination of extensive and in depth fieldwork, top quality final year ore deposit modules, student branches of Economic Geology societies, as well as the wide range of sports and activities available to students at the University, can prepare Leeds Geological Science students with a solid foundation for a career in exploration or mining geology.