Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Management


Business and Law

First Advisor

Dr Llandis Barratt-Pugh

Second Advisor

Dr Peter Lilly


The mining industry is a major contributor to the Australian economy. The value of mining and exploration shares traded on the Australian Stock Exchange are contingent on the estimates of mineral deposits, which are disclosed publically in accordance with a reporting code maintained by the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (the JORC Code). Expert resource geologists, known as Competent Persons, provide classified estimates of mineral endowment that underpin these public statements. The JORC Code requirements for qualifying as Competent Persons are membership of an approved professional association and a minimum of five years’ relevant experience. This research set out to address a primarily practical issue: How do the mining industry, mining companies and individuals cooperate to develop resource geologists with sufficient competency to provide expert recommendations for public reporting of mineral resources? A corollary to this is ‘Are the current standards sufficient to identify the competency expectations placed on Competent Persons?’ It is challenging to place the subsequent research in any one discipline as the study draws on multiple theories across multiple domains to facilitate a relevant description of the practicebased competency development. To properly understand the the practice of resource geologists operating in a sub-sector within the JORC Code system, the research needed to explore and consolidate diverse theories such as theories on social structures, workplace learning theories and statistical reasoning education theories. In addition, as a mixed methods study, the research draws on a wide range of tools from qualitative iterative coding and theming techniques to the more rigorous statistical tools of t-tests, paired t-tests, ANOVA and the philosophically different Rasch Analysis method. This study reflects a broad curiosity in diverse concepts and theories that is combined with the researcher’s desire to provide a meaningful practical contribution to the mining industry. The practical outcome of this research is a revised set of criteria to meet Competent Persons status under the JORC Code that is supported by a competency development model. These models are generalised to reflect a revised competency model, based on the dual expectations of practice exposure and reasoning ability, and an associated competency development model, which synthesises contributions of workplace learning experiences. The contributions to the theory include a revised theory of workplace learning networks emerging from the practice context of transient professional workers. These networks are enduring, transient and egocentric and operate beyond organisational confines.