the BUTT-SMITH MEDAL
Dr Nigel Radford is the 2008 winner of the Butt-Smith Medal
- for outstanding and sustained contribution linking regolith science to exploration in Australia
Presented at the Australian Earth Sciences Convention Dinner, 23 July, by Dr Mike McWilliams, Chief CSIRO Exploration and Mining and Dr Steve Rogers, CEO CRC LEME.
Dr Nigel Radford is third recipient of the Butt-Smith Medal. Nigel is highly regarded internationally by both exploration industry and research scientist colleagues in the exploration geochemistry community, due to his foresight, scientific reputation, leadership and development of successful collaborations between the scientific and industry end-used groups.
Nigel's work with Bill Griffin of Newmont on the BLEG technique of stream sediment sampling of gold, has resulted in undoubted world leadership in the field, particularly with regard to its application to weathered terrains.
In the 1980's Nigel played an important role in convincing the exploration community that regolith has a number of positive exploration aspects. He was Supervising Geologist for Metana Minerals who were one of the clients of a CSIRO/AMIRA regolith research program. At this time, mineral exploration techniques, especially those involving routine sampling and categorization of the regolith had their roots in “tradition” and seldom were subject to change or even to question. Fortunately Nigel, a geoscientist of vision, was an active member of the mineral exploration community during a period of unprecedented change brought about by new regolith geoscience research advances, including understanding the importance of defining regolith mineral hosts of ore-derived trace metals.
Nigel has been a strong advocate of the potential role of organic/biological processes in the regolith and the formation of geochemical anomalies. Recent research in CSIRO and CRC LEME has demonstrated that metal uptake through cover, by deep rooted Australian native vegetation, and sampling of above ground plant structures such as leaves, provides a means of ‘seeing through' many metres of transported overburden. Nigel was one of the key industry advocates in the successful development of the ongoing AMIRA P778 Predictive Geochemistry in Transported Overburden project.
Nigel has a long association with regolith geoscience research. He was a member of the team which put together and presented the successful bid for funding for CRC LEME 1, and has been an active member of the Mineral Advisory Council for CRC LEME 1 and CRC LEME 2. In these capacities, he has made a significant contribution to the science direction and industry uptake of regolith research outcomes.
The award of the 2008 Butt-Smith Medal recognises Nigel's role in advancing the application of regolith geoscience, developing new geochemical approaches to exploration through cover, as being truly groundbreaking.