The Gold Industry Group had the pleasure of talking to Ramelius Resources Research Geologist and Geochemist Dr Jackie Rotherham recently.

We discovered the ins and outs of her role and the exciting challenges ahead in search of the next gold discovery. 

Jackie, what gets you out of bed?  

I’m currently working on target generation in the Mt Magnet area with the aim to discover the next deposit. It’s exciting and challenging as discoveries are getting harder to make. A lot of gold has been discovered at Mt Magnet over a long history dating back to the early 1900’s. But we believe there is more to be found. The easy pickings have been discovered and mined and now we need to look deeper and explore smarter, and we are doing that using innovative analytical instruments and software packages.  

How would you describe your role as Research Geologist and Geochemist? 

My role at Ramelius involves collating, integrating, interrogating and 3D modelling of various datasets such as geochemical, spectral, geophysical and lithological data. Basically, I look for trends and patterns within the datasets with the ultimate aim of identifying new gold targets in and around Ramelius’ existing mining areas as well as more regional projects. 
After a number of years in the field, I now spend my days in the office, however, there are plenty of rocks and chip trays surrounding my desk that need to be further examined and analysed.

Tell me more about your career journey and how you got into this position? 

I undertook an Applied Science degree in geology and went on to obtain Honours and a Ph.D in Economic Geology. Then I moved to Western Australia to embark on real life as a field geologist and spent a number of years exploring the Archaean and Proterozoic terranes of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. 

I have worked for various mining and exploration companies over the years which has involved a great deal of searching, mapping, rock collecting, contemplating, theorising, and analysing. My career spans close to two decades and this experience has helped me to get into my current role at Ramelius.  

What was your typical day like in the field? 

Most days I was out in the bush from sun up to sun down, mapping, sampling or supervising drill rigs. Some of our exploration campaigns were quite remote and we had to set up fly camps in the middle of the bush. I loved being in the outdoors and the people were great, but it was hard work! I wouldn’t be where I am now without that valuable experience.

What is the most memorable moment of your career? 

I was mapping in a remote gorge area (about three hours hike from a pre-arranged pick up point) with some spectacular outcrop. It was the middle of winter but the sun was out and it was very warm. I had my head down, climbing up the rocks of this dry waterfall and looking at the stunning outcrop when I came face to face with the biggest western brown snake I had ever seen. It had reared up and was moments off striking. I backed away and thanked my lucky stars that it must have still been half asleep and a bit groggy!

What would you say to someone wanting to get into geology? 

Study hard, work hard and apply attention to detail! 

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love science and I enjoy a challenge. I also love the flexible working hours of my job and the people at Ramelius really make it. 

Why do you support the Gold Industry Group? 

I think the work the Gold Industry Group is doing to build awareness of the industry and educate the public of its importance is fantastic, particularly when times are tough. Although the Group is new, it’s starting to fill that void and I whole heartedly support them.

What do you do with your spare time? 

I am a mother of two and with my love for the outdoors it’s no surprise my interests include playing in the mud and climbing trees with the family! We also have an extra-large Great Dane and a cranky old bunny who we love dearly.