while waiting for his doctoral thesis to be assessed by the University
of Manitoba, Peter Laznicka undertook a short-term contract of work
with Australian Selection Trust, traversing the eastern seaboard of
Australia from Cape York Peninsula in the north, to the island of
Tasmania in the south. As an aid to memory, he compiled suites of
small samples onto sheets of stout cardboard as he went. Not only
did those assist Peter in making objective comparisons over vast tracts
of country, but provided a medium through which company geologists
could learn and contribute their own experience. This period marked
the birth of DM and cemented the importance of empiricism in Data
Metallogenica's approach to geological data. Sets of mini samples
in time became known as the Lithotheque collection, still at the core
of DM's mineral deposit information system. Early sets included many
lithological samples. Later, collecting focused more closely on the
mineral deposits themselves, but lithology continued to be well represented
as an important dimension of regional setting.
The first sample sets were still mounted on original cardboard (now
on aluminum sheets) when Data Metallogenica and the Laznicka family
moved to Australia in mid-1999. Browsing Lithotheque plate sets #1
to #77 is an amazingly accessible traverse across a continent, which
brings home the power to instruct of such a vast range of lithologies
and deposits organised like a book library. To take just one example:
side by side can be examined, the Herberton tin district, Georgetown
Inlier, Mt Isa, Charters Towers, Ravenswood, Gympie, New England,
Broken Hill, the Lachlan fold belt of New South Wales, Cobar, Hill
End, Captain's Flat, Melbourne Trough, Zeehan, Renison Bell, and Rosebery.
Even more tellingly, mines such as Captain's Flat (Zn-Pb-Cu VMS) in
New South Wales, long closed and rehabilitated, signal the strategic
strength of DM to preserve samples from deposits no longer accessible
for later generations of explorers and educators.
On his return from Australia and successful acceptance of his thesis,
Peter was appointed Assistant Professor of Geology in the Department
of Earth Sciences at the University of Manitoba, where in 1974 he
published the blueprint for what was to be the future Data Metallogenica
information system. It was entitled, "LITHOTHEQUE - a System
of Rock and Mineral Specimens Arrangement in Geological Education,
Documentation and Exploration", Publication No. 5 for the Centre
for Precambrian Studies. As Peter put it in his report:
word 'Lithotheque' (equivalent to bibliotheque) has been used for
a system (library) of plates carrying rock or mineral specimens."
arranged and permanently mounted on
designed to be stored in simple holders
(where) ease of handling
similar properties of book or report libraries."
collect an all-embracing set of mini-specimens covering
the entire petrography and mineralogy of an outcrop, mine, stratigraphic
unit, etc., and add a few ordinary size specimens of selected rocks
and minerals for special purposes."
"Fifteen carefully selected mini-specimens show always many
more features than a single, large specimen."
"Specimens, more than anything else, can confirm or disprove
the similarity of ore deposits; the published literature often fails
.use different terminology."
Lithotheque collection at that time (1974) contained 7,500 mini-specimens,
or approximately 10% of what it had grown to by January 2003, and
is being added to all the time.
For more than thirty years Peter has travelled the world at every
opportunity, collecting samples from mineral deposits and searching
out information. What Peter and his family achieved prior to his retirement
from the university in 1999 is amazing. Development of DM, however,
did not stop there, and continues apace in Australia where Peter and
his geologist wife Sarka have taken up residence, and where they worked
at the new Data Metallogenica Centre until July 2004.
The Data Metallogenica Centre in Adelaide opened its doors in December
1999, the culmination of efforts by AMIRA International and the Australian
Mineral Foundation, and with assistance from the government of South Australia.
Development funding for an initial period of 3-years was provided
by contributions from almost 70 companies and institutions around
the world, to further Peter's wish that Data Metallogenica should
remain in the public domain. This first AMIRA Project (P554) set out
to fill significant gaps in the sample collection, revise and augment
deposit information, carry out semi-quantitative mineralogical measurement
on samples, digitally image the Lithotheque collection, and established
a web-based Data Metallogenica web site and subscriber database.
This was achieved by July 2002, when a searchable database of 20,000
files of images, text and measurement (approx 2.5 Gb) was launched
for the use of project sponsors. A further 2-year follow-on program
of sponsored development (AMIRA Project P554A) commenced in December
2002, tasked with adding significant new mineral deposit information
to the database: notably, full deposit descriptions, field photogalleries,
plans, sections and regional summaries. Samples from missing deposits
continued to be added and the important program of high resolution
digital photography of samples was extended. This project was completed in November 2004. During the course of the project, the AMF was placed into liquidation and full ownership of the collection passed to AMIRA International.
A full list of AMIRA Foundation Sponsors and Donors is provided on
the DM homepage (in addition, former sponsors now controlled by other
companies include Centaur Mining & Exploration, Delta Gold, Gawler
Gold, Homestake Gold of Australia, Mount Isa Mines, New Hampton, Normandy
Exploration, North Limited, Ranger Minerals, Ross Mining and WMC).
In March 2003 the Toronto PDAC Convention and Trade show in Canada
saw the official launch of the web database to public subscribers.
Data Metallogenica receives no government subsidy and after January 2005
has to cover its own running costs through subscription revenues, as well as additional sponsorships.
Its parent organisation, AMIRA International, is a not-for-profit
minerals industry research association, which needs industry and teaching
institutions worldwide to support DM through their active participation
if it is to continue to fulfil our vision of providing
unique information to succeeding generations of explorers and educators.
Future plans for Data Metallogenica are for an ever widening range
of linked industry website information sources, including the fields
of mining and metallurgy.
or your organisation do not already subscribe to Data Metallogenica
On-line, please take a few moments to contact us for further information,
or click for a faxable subscription form in Australian
Currency or US
information please contact: Dr.
Alan Goode or Dr.