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My first attendance at the Pacific GIS and Remote Sensing Conference in Suva, Fiji

Published on December 7, 2018, by Elisa


 Last week I attended for the first time the Pacific GIS and Remote Sensing Conference (PGRSC), which was held at the University of South Pacific in Suva, Fiji from Monday the 25th to Friday the 30th of November. The conference includes four full days of talks and panels and a half day of workshops on remote sensing and open source software.


The PGRSC is the biggest conference for GIS and remote sensing in the Pacific region and represents a great occasion for GIS professionals that operate in this area to catch up and learn about the projects going on in the various countries. It focuses particularly on topics relevant to the Pacific, such as hazard modelling, disaster planning, response and management, climate change and eventual consequences for the various islands, and land use and optimisation.


The PGRSC this year had around 100 attendees, with representatives from almost all the Pacific regions, working for private companies, government and institutions, and academia. The workshops had an average of 5 to 10 attendees.


The official shirt of the conference, given to all the presenters


During the second day I presented two talks: on polymetallic nodule deposit modelling in the Cook Island EEZ that we completed for the Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Authority, the other on a land use optimisation project we have undertaken or a Maori iwi in New Zealand . The presentations were well received by those in the audience and had positive feedback after the talk. I had quite a few discussions with other attendees about seabed mineral exploration and what benefits it could bring to the Cook Islands, and about capability building for indigenous communities, especially in the geoscientific sector.

All the presentations have been recorded and are freely available on the PGRSC Facebook page.



Five different workshops were run on the last morning of the conference. The topics covered were remote sensing, cloud image processing, radar and UAV techniques and QGIS (basic and advanced). I attended the QGIS advanced workshop, led by Marco Bernasocchi, QGIS Co-Chair, and enjoyed it thoroughly….and got some good tips and tricks to enhance our use of QGIS at Kenex!


Another important – and really pleasant! – aspect of the conference was social networking: the conference encouraged it by organising multiple social events during the week and keeping a relaxed and informal environment. It is an effective way to get to speak with most of the attendees, especially the ones that have presented projects of interest. I met many interesting people and enjoyed listening to their projects and everyday challenges in working with GIS in the Pacific, which has such a vibrant and active geospatial scene right now.

The Kava Ceremony, one of the many social events organised for the attendees


Overall, I really enjoyed the conference and I think most of the talks were of high interest and quality. I loved the relaxed environment and I feel I have made new friends and long-lasting connections. And I’m also happy to announce that Kenex has become a founding member of the newly formed Pacific GIS and Remote Sensing Counsel!


See you next year at the PGRSC 2019!

Attending and Presenting at the EUGNZ Regional conference in Wellington

Published on April 3, 2018, by Elisa


Suzanne, Emory and I attended the NZ ESRI User Group regional conference in Wellington last week. The conference is a 1-day free event organised by the User group and is a good forum for receiving updates on the latest news from ESRI, listening to GIS case studies from government agencies and private companies and networking with other GIS users in Wellington.


All the presentations were really interesting: several presenters announced exciting news about new features, software, and data soon to be released, and others showed clever and stimulating ways to apply GIS to everyday problems, from transport accidents to conservation issues and QA/QC of data.



I was invited to present our pilot study about using GIS to help Iwi groups enhance their knowledge of their land, especially in term of land use, potential and eventual profit. This pilot study is one of a series of similar GIS studies that we're developing with a couple of local Iwi groups. The final scope of this work is to help Iwi to create their own GIS platform, build up GIS capability and at the end be able to run, manage and create similar GIS projects in house. The project has been going for several months now and we are very satisfied of the outcomes and feedback so far.



The pilot study we presented aims to create a simple but consistent modelling workflow to help groups or individuals identify the most profitable land use for a particular block of land. We created a spatial model for each of these four broad landuse categories: Forestry, Agriculture, Pasture and Honey production. Each model identifies all the areas suitable for the landuse analysed. In order to compare the results of each model in an economic analysis, every land use was assigned a profit/ha value (except for honey production, where we used industry average production and sale values). The areas were then overlaid to create a final Land Capability Map where each polygon represents an unique combination of possible landuses with their respective profit/ha values.


We also learned about two interesting GIS volunteering programs that we are considering participating in, Geomentors and GIS in Conservation. Geomentors aims to help primary and secondary schools with GIS capabilities with upskilling of their students by having GIS professionals to help the teachers using the software, preparing lessons, and directly speak or train the students. GIS in Conservation is a registered not-for-profit charitable organisation set up in 2012 to foster and support the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) by volunteer conservation groups and iwi working in conservation throughout New Zealand.


Of course at the end of the day we did enjoy mingling with the other GIS professionals and sharing a few funny anecdotes from our work and experience with a well-earned free drink in hand! And guess what? The question we all still fear the most is still "What do you do?"



Our First Overseas Training Experience for Kenex - Geology of Gold Course at Melbourne University 2018

Published on March 28, 2018, by Emory and Suzanne


The course placed most emphasis on greenstone-hosted and sediment-hosted orogenic gold mineral systems and also covered IOCG, Epithermal, VMS, porphyry, Carlin, hydrothermal and placer gold systems. All lectures covered aspects of geochemistry, structural geology, metamorphic geology and processes behind the formation of gold in each setting. We touched on many different examples from across Australia, China and the US, with a look into the world’s largest deposit, Witwatersrand goldfields in South Africa.


Mid-week we ventured to Fosterville, one of Australia’s largest producing gold mines where company geologists provided an overview of the mine’s current and historical operations, the context in which gold is found at the site and the methods of gold extraction. This was a highly informative day and provided great insight into the extent of gold mining and how it relates to other gold deposits worldwide.

The knowledge gained about the different mineral systems and the geochemical processes that form deposits within them is relevant to the mineral potential mapping and targeting work undertaken by Kenex. An expanded knowledge on the controls on generation, the preservation of ore and the processes that cause metals to be mobilised from source to trap has left us eager to apply the theoretical knowledge gained during the course to add value to current and future projects that Kenex is involved in.


My first experience as QGIS trainer at the Indigenous Mapping Wananaga 2017

Published on June 20, 2017, by Elisa



A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the Indigenous Mapping Wananga 2017, a three-day conference and workshop event in Hamilton aimed to showcase the importance of GIS for indigenous organizations.

Many Maori Iwi were represented at the conference and workshops including more than a hundred people of all ages and skill levels who showed an enthusiasm for learning GIS that was almost overwhelming.


imw2017 attendants


The workshop part of the event was subdivided into three concurrent streams based on the three main software we wanted to showcase: Google, ESRI, and QGIS. My role was to run the 8 hours’ workshop about QGIS, a powerful, free and open source GIS software that probably many of you already know of. I’ve been using QGIS in my day to day GIS tasks at Kenex, along with ArcMap and MapInfo, and I was glad to have the opportunity of teaching the basics of this software to the people who attended my sessions of the workshop.

The sessions were aimed both at beginner and intermediate GIS users and covered the basics of a GIS project developed in QGIS: opening and visualising data, capturing and editing data and attributes, working with raster data, creating data depositories and working with open source databases like SpatiaLite, accessing, organizing and managing GIS data, and finally creating and sharing maps.


I ran the sessions with the invaluable help of Pano Skrivanos, who came to New Zealand from Canada especially to be part of the event and to share his knowledge and experience.

Many of the other trainers came from overseas to participate, present and teach at the conference and most of us volunteered our time to help run the workshops. This created a unique atmosphere and I’m glad to have been part of such a great group of people, who have the same passion for GIS. There was a common belief in the importance of using spatial data and GIS models as a necessary tool for a wide range of organizations and companies.


We received numerous and very positive feedback from the attendees, who truly were the soul of the event. As already mentioned before, they showed an absolute interest in GIS and a great enthusiasm for learning new tools and techniques, asking questions and participating actively in the workshop sessions. More than once we carried over into the breaks, with the attendees happy to skip lunch or refreshments to finish up their exercises!


Having learned more about the needs and issues that most Iwi are facing in their daily data administration, I’m convinced that an efficient GIS system would greatly improve their decision-making process, especially around land management, historic sites preservation, infrastructure implementation, health-care planning and business development.


Furthermore, a complete GIS database would be the best solution for storing and managing the confidential spatial data that make such an important asset for many Iwi. For this reason, I was so glad that Moka Apiti, Duane Wilkins, and the other organizers managed to create such an intense GIS packed event, allowing the participants to learn and play with the most advanced GIS software and tools. Hopefully, all the knowledge we have shared will be useful for introducing or improving the GIS skills of Iwi and other indigenous organizations.


 Overall it was a great experience, I came back to the office with a renewed passion for my work in the spatial world and I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to meet so many interesting, prepared and passionate people. I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference!


 imw2017 trainers

Inspiring the Next Generation of Geologists

Published on October 18, 2016, by Katie

I attended the Women in Mining Lunch at the recent AusIMM New Zealand Branch Annual Conference in Wellington. I was particularly inspired by Hon Louise Upston, the Minister for Women, who commented in her talk about how important it is to spark children’s interests in a variety of fields and at an early age. One of her suggestions was to get more industry professionals sharing their knowledge and passion for what they do with children.


In August I got the opportunity to contribute to a ‘Passion Ignition Workshop’ for senior children at Konini Primary School in Wainuiomata. The aim of the workshop was to bring in professionals or hobbyists from many fields exposing the children to a wide range topics prior to deciding on a topic for their passion project. For this workshop the topics included hat making, coding, bee keeping, Japanese calligraphy and a Te Papa scientist even came in with his collection of giant crabs. The workshop ran as three half hour back to back sessions.


I took in a selection of rocks from my collection at home and the Kenex office collection to talk with the children about the three main rock types. I introduced the topic of geology and described the characteristics of sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks. I then set them the task of dividing a selection of rocks from my collection into these three groups. This gave them the chance to analyse and categorise the rocks providing a very hands on experience. They then got to look at some of the other rocks I’d brought along. They were particularly fascinated by clusters of quartz crystals I’d collected from the Southern Alps, obsidian from the Taupo Volcanic Zone and fossilised kauri gum. It was great see the children’s enthusiasm and desire to learn and hopefully to have inspired some future geologists.


I see this experience as a very valuable use of my time as an industry professional passing on my knowledge and passion about geology and if given the chance I will definitely do it again.


Kenex at the AusIMM Conference 2016

Published on August 24, 2016, by Nat


This year the Kenex team will not be travelling far to attend the AusIMM New Zealand minerals conference, which will be held at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa, in Wellington from 3rd - 6th September. Our team will forgo our beach-side Eastbourne office, for a booth at the conference, providing a space to connect with new faces, old friends and everyone in-between. The conference organising committee has developed an excellent looking technical and social programme again this year. In the lead up to the conference here are five topics we as a team are looking forward to:


1. Seabed mining and exploration

Despite the challenges potential seabed miners Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) and Chatham Rock Phosphate (CRP) have had in recent years we look forward to hearing their talks and the views of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). TTR have recently submitted their application for marine consent in relation to their Taranaki Project, and Shawn Thompson (Project Director for TTR) will be discussing the methodology employed regarding their proposed mining operation. CRP director and Chief Science Advisor Robin Falconer will be covering the history of the Chatham Rise project in the aptly entitled talk ‘Chatham Rise Phosphate: Will 50 years of effort succeed?’. The views of Richard Johnson from the EPA on the subject of seabed mining are also eagerly awaited, given the EPA’s significant role in enabling, or otherwise, the emerging seabed mining and exploration sectors ability to grow and contribute to the New Zealand economy. Another key development which may be addressed is that TTR have recently been awarded a seabed prospecting permit off the West Coast of the South Island. This permit, however, sits within the 12 nautical mile limit which means the EPA has no jurisdiction and it is up to local councils to decide the environmental consenting conditions. It will be interesting to see what develops in this space, and whether further opportunities will arise from the ongoing work of these companies.


2. How the Minister of Energy and Resources is treated

Hon Simon Bridges MP will be addressing the conference in a key session on Monday morning, and will likely focus on initiatives the government is working on while acknowledging the tough economic climate the industry is facing. The Q & A session after this annual speech is often colourful, and worth watching out for.


3. Presentations from the West Australian Contingent

We are looking forward to the presentations from the scattering of delegates from Western Australia and the perspectives that they will bring to the conference. The collation and use of legacy (historic) data is a key competency of Kenex so we look forward to hearing from Julian Vearncombe (SJS Resource Management) on ‘Value from legacy data’. We are equally looking forward to hearing from John Sykes and Allan Trench from the University of Western Australia – an institution that Kenex has a long association with, and finally from Karl Simich from Sandfire Resources. Kenex has close ties to the West Australian scene due to the location of our Australian office (the base for our directors Dr Greg Partington and Michelle Stokes) and several recent and current clients working in WA. The health of the WA minerals scene is a good gauge on what is happening globally from both an exploration and mining technology and project financing perspective.


4. Looking back at Fifteen years of Prospectivity Modelling in NZ

This year our very own Katie Peters (Senior Geologist) will be presenting a talk reviewing the past and future use of mineral prospectivity modelling in the exploration industry in New Zealand. She has also written a paper on this theme which will be included in the new AusIMM Monograph volume to be released at the conference. Obviously a passion, key service and business development tool of ours at Kenex, we always look with interest to any papers or presentations that follow the theme of data driven exploration and the use of predictive modelling to define exploration targets. We firmly believe that the use of this type of approach can add value to exploration projects, whether at the regional scale or for planning a drilling programme, by cutting costs and increasing the chances of discovery by focusing on the areas of greatest geological potential. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our approach with conference delegates at our booth.


Senior Geologist Katie Peters presenting at FUTORES conference in Townsville in 2013


5. Delegates spinning yarns

And finally, what would the AusIMM be without the many, many conversations between like-minded people, some of whom have known each other for years. Look out especially for the delegates who have been around the block a few more times than the rest, discussing old and new discoveries and techniques as well as long-forgotten pieces of exploration and mining history. It is always worth while keeping your ears open and joining in the conversation, to find out snippets of the past you didn’t know existed, and that may be the key to your next discovery or breakthrough.


So we hope you enjoy this year’s conference in the coolest little capital in the world. Please stop by at the Kenex booth and introduce yourself to one of the team, we look forward to seeing you there.

Nat Carey Geologist & Permit Manager



New Zealand Mineral Explorers - Three Tips on working well with the Government

Published on August 3, 2016, by Nat

It’s common knowledge that many minerals explorers and miners want to get their boots on the ground, their rock hammer out or plant operating rather than wading through paperwork and policy. In New Zealand, as with most jurisdictions, the two go hand-in-hand; navigating government regulation is as important as driving the digger and feeding the plant. This is not always well understood and every year miners, explorers and quarry workers fall foul of some piece of the permitting puzzle, sometimes to the detriment of their projects.

In recent years, New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals (NZP&M) have endeavoured to streamline their system, rolling out a new online system called RAPID, as well as new guidelines. The ministry has also called for higher quality applications, with a tougher stance on incomplete information and a higher likelihood of outright rejection. So in theory things should be getting easier, but at the same time more is expected from applicants to get it right first time.

So how does an explorer or miner navigate these sometimes confusing waters, keeping administration and aggravation to a minimum while staying on the government’s good side? Based on our experience working for clients of all sizes over the last 13 years here are three tips to streamline your dealings with NZP&M:

Number One – Know what information is required for a new permit.

One of the key problems with new applications is incomplete or missing information. Some of the key questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the financial capability I’ve supplied actually show that I can fund the work programme?
  • Have I shown evidence of this (bank statements, financial reports etc.)? This is one of the major issues junior explorers face in applying for new permits, proving financial backing in an industry climate where capital raising often occurs after permits are secured.
  • Does the written technical expertise I’ve provided actually show relevant skills? Your operations manager may have experience on large projects in other industries, but can you show that anyone in your company has experience in gold extraction?
  • Have I demonstrated an understanding of the geology of the area, and can I match this with exploration/extraction techniques that will likely work in the environment? This is a crucial step that needs to be explained in a proposed work programme.

At Kenex we regularly work with small and large explorers and miners to tailor applications to encompass all the aspects we know NZP&M are looking for, and the regulation requires. It’s something we’ve learnt through years of dealing with the government and participating on industry panels.

Number Two - Keep track of the important dates.

Knowing when annual fees, annual reports, and change applications are due is crucial to displaying to the Government that you are a competent operator. The complex thing here is that different types of deadlines are not always the same, with some falling either side of the permit anniversary, and others at set times of the year. Keeping an updated calendar with reminders of these is important.

Kenex keeps working calendars for a number of clients, advising them well in advance of important dates and helping them to complete work within the required timeframe

Number Three - Know your Work Programme requirements, and how to change them.

New Zealand has a permit allocation system which is different to many other jurisdictions when it comes to minimum work programmes. In New Zealand, the permit holder is bound to specific obligations that are set in the permit conditions, rather than spending a specified amount of money (i.e. expenditure based). This also means you cannot necessarily change your obligations last minute; there is a process to go through.

For a variety of reasons, we have seen clients both domestic and from overseas not follow their work programmes as closely as the government would anticipate, and get into hot water when anniversary dates loom.

Hitting drilling metre targets and completing certain types of sample programmes are important to NZP&M, as a key tenet of their allocation process is ensuring that further knowledge of the mineral estate is generated. A change of conditions application must be made to amend these if, for whatever reason, they are unable to be met. Changes to exploration programmes, for example, must be submitted at least 90 days before their due date.

Keeping track of client’s exploration programmes, minimum targets, and due dates is something which Kenex monitors throughout New Zealand. It is part of the permit management package we offer to clients to make sure they are free to focus on what they do best, get their boots on the ground and explore for minerals.

For more detail on the application for, and management of, minerals permits in New Zealand contact Nat here. We will also be attending the AusIMM New Zealand Branch conference in Wellington from 3-6 September. Please come and see us at the Kenex booth.

Where do all the Pokemon GO?

Published on July 12, 2016, by Nat and Connie

You’ve probably heard of the latest craze to reach our phones, Pokemon GO. It’s an augmented reality game that takes you on a real-world adventure encouraging users to search and discover Pokémon in… The real world! That’s right, a game that encourages you to actually use your feet and leave the house. The game does this by seamlessly combining your phone’s camera, GPS and mapping systems. What you may not realise is that the backbone behind this great game is GIS (that’s right, it’s everywhere). Without a GIS that includes the terrain, location of important landmarks and road maps, as well as GPS localisation, this game could not exist. How can we use GIS to help catch specific Pokemon? With the right information we can use GIS spatial modelling to create a target map highlighting the best conditions (e.g. time, weather, terrain relationships) for every kind of Pokémon. We all know that there is more likelihood of catching a Water-type Pokemon near the water, but how big does the water body need to be to catch a rare one, like a Gyarados? Are you more likely to catch one at the duck pond, or the lake? Perhaps there are additional requirements that need to be fulfilled (e.g. they may prefer to hang out where the population is less dense or perhaps they prefer man-made lagoons over natural swamplands). If we are able to collect information on the Pokemon that are caught, and details about how and where, then we could work out which Pokemon are the rarest, and where the best places to catch the different types of Pokémon are using GIS analysis and spatial modelling techniques!


What else is GIS analysis useful for? If we replace Pokemon with any spatial target, say a mineral deposit or windfarm, we can apply the same modelling techniques to pin point the best locations to find or set up your target; information that can prove invaluable for the advancement of your project. At Kenex, this is what we specialise in, modelling and targeting for mineral deposits, environmental projects, energy sources and water resources. With any sector (including augmented reality games like Pokemon GO!) using spatial data to inform your decision making significantly increases your chances of success, and is much more cost and time efficient than wandering blindly and hoping to stumble across a ‘rare’ find.


Our past successes in spatial modelling include defining drill targets to find gold mineralisation in Oman and Australia for example, modelling the best locations for wind turbines in New Zealand and Argentina, and targeting where best to develop new infrastructure in Canada to enhance regional economic development. With all these things, and countless other applications, it’s about using GIS data and spatial analysis to help you find the best probable outcome more efficiently.

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