Ed standing in an excavator bucket in the viewing platform for the Kalgoorlie super pit in Western Australia

Alumnus Ed Newitt (Applied Geology, 2022) is an Exploration Geologist and since graduating has adventured to Australia to help Chalice Mining Ltd with geological discoveries. We recently caught up with him to discover what life and work has been like since his university days and find out more about his experiences of studying on our Penryn Campus.

Cornwall is idyllic and boasts one of the most interesting and varied geological settings in the UK and with Ed having always loved the natural world and spending time outside joining our Penryn Campus in 2019 was a no-brainer. The location meant he had could make the most of an empty beach being only 20 minutes away and being able to explore the county on guided one-day field trips or walk at the weekend as well as enjoying his studies. This was made even better by being in Cornwall where some of the UK’s most fascinating geology is all in your back garden. Meaning he could learn about igneous petrology in lab one day and see it in the field the next!

Ed’s course – which is part of our Camborne School of Mines (CSM) and now known as Resource and Exploration Geology – is something he remembers fondly now that he is in the world of work. Particularly the variety and tactility of it as the course meant students were involved a mixture of lab, lectures, and practical work – all in one week.   

When reflecting on some of the best aspects of the course he says the practicality and close-knit nature stood out for him: “Everyone knew everyone and helped each other when they could which made for a really supportive work environment that helped everyone progress. The best part about studying at CSM is the community. The smaller class sizes and nature of the programme means that you become close with everyone else on your course and with the lecturing staff. This creates a support network that helps you succeed and that you can rely on. This network continues after university with the CSMA being active all over the world with common networking and social events to help you improve your skills and meet likeminded people with similar interests.”

Whilst studying at CSM Ed was able to get involved in many different unique opportunities and adventures. When we caught up it was hard for him to pick a favourite memory but he mentioned they were all spent doing fieldwork:

“Mapping old underground and open pit workings in Poldark Mine and Parys Mountain and spending five weeks hiking in north Wales are memories that I look back on often and fondly even if it was often tough at the time. They were both unique and exciting practicals that allowed you to consolidate years of learning. Both involved mapping previously worked but very different ore deposits in Parys Mountain and Wheal Roots which in turn allow you to try different skillsets and to start to get a feel for which may interest you more.”

After graduation, Ed headed off to even warmer weather than Cornwall and made Western Australia his home. He is currently working for Chalice Mining Ltd (contracted by Digirock Pty Ltd) within their Julimar regional team. Being an Exploration Geologist has been ideal for Ed as it combines both his passion for the outdoors and being in nature with his love for science and geology: a dream come true. His primary focus on Ni-Cu-PGE deposits within the newly prospective SW terrane of the Yilgarn craton. This work has involved working on resource definition/exploration of Chalice Mining’s existing Gonneville Ni-Cu-PGE deposit alongside more greenfields target delineation and drill testing across both the greater Julimar complex and further afield within the SW Yilgarn.

Ed standing in front of Bluff Knoll, the tallest peak in the Sterling Ranges and Western Australia.

We wondered what Ed enjoyed most about this role so far and he said:  “The varied nature of it definitely! It gives a good mix of experiences where one week you will be hiking, mapping exposure and taking soil samples and the next you will be in the office reviewing prior work and interpreting the data you collected. It can allow you to see a project from an idea to a resource and be involved in every step along the way and means you can play a part in providing essential materials to society to help it progress and grow in the face of existential challenges.”

So what does Ed get up to as an Exploration Geologist? Well, the work is focused on regional exploration and involves collecting and analysing data from geophysical and geochemical campaigns to identify prospective regions within tenure and build them up to a drill-ready level. Once targets are ready to be drilled he plans and manages drill contractors, logging and sampling drillholes to collect geological data and assess if targets have been successfully tested and therefore if any further work needs doing.

If you’re thinking of a career change or wanting to study some more Ed is passionate about the benefits his course gave him which helped him be able to make the most of his current role. These skills included the ability to field map, understand core/sampling regimes and an understanding of mineralogy/alteration assemblages.

Reflecting on his studies, he says: “I use the basics that were laid down in modules like igneous petrology and ore deposit geology daily and the fact that they were so well drilled has been a life-saver! I’d recommend this course to anyone interested: one hundred percent. The course has been an absolute head start for work, teaching an excellent mix of practical and academic skills all of which I use on a daily basis. On top of this, it has introduced me to dozens of people who have made the same move as me and have similar interests that has made the transition into working life far easier.

So what is his advice if you’re interested in a similar career to his? Ed shared that: “If you want to pursue a similar career to mine, my advice would be to take the plunge. It’s a fascinating field where science meets practicality. Find something you’re interested in and do wider reading on it, find who else works in those fields and reach out to them.”

Looking to the future Ed says he’s looking forward to the weather warming up in Perth and the field season starting up again. As well as longer term, exploring more of the SW Yilgarn and hopefully making some discoveries! We cannot wait to hear more in the future about what he gets up to.

Ed standing in a tunnel made up of thin section photos in the WA Museum Boola Bardip.