EurGeol of the month: John Clifford

“European Geologist of the month” is a new category of EFG’s monthly newsletter GeoNews. Each month we will ask one of the European Geologist title holders to tell us about his professional experiences and which role the title has played for his career.

To open this new section we are proud to kick off with John Clifford. He is currently responsible for mineral exploration in Europe and Central Asia on behalf of Antofagasta Minerals, the major Chilean copper producer. He was awarded the EFG Medal of Merit for his exceptional and distinguished contributions to the EFG and to the geological profession in Europe. John Clifford served on the EFG Board from 2002 to 2005 as EU Delegate and has always been a strong defendant of the EurGeol title.

Name: John Clifford
EurGeol title number: 25
Country: Ireland
In which country do you currently work? I am currently responsible for mineral exploration in Europe and Central Asia on behalf of Antofagasta Minerals, the major Chilean copper producer.
In which field of geology do you work? Economic geology, with a specialisation in mineral exploration

Could you give us your opinion on the advisability of being member of a professional association? 
I consider that it is an essential requirement for all professionals to be not just a member of a peer reviewed, professional association, but also to give of their time to promote the practice of their profession by participating in the activities of the association.

Could you explain why you applied for the European Geologist title? 
The European Geologist title is a professional passport that eases access to professional practice within the European Union and, through mutual recognition agreements, in other jurisdictions internationally.

Do you consider that these titles represent an added value for finding a job? 
Absolutely, as it provides evidence of peer recognition of professional competence, and of a commitment to comply with best practice professional and ethical standards.

What does this title allow you to do? 
Various regulatory and government agencies require that a signatory to a professional report hold a professional title such as European Geologist.

Currently a demand of geologists exists abroad. Would you advise unemployed geologists to look for a job outside (your country)?
It is, in my opinion, essential that geologists get as much exposure to rocks and, in my specialisation, to various styles of mineralisation, in as many diverse geological settings as possible. This experience can be gained through a combination of working internationally and participation on field trips. I believe that every geologist, young and old, should continually seek out new experience – the more rocks you have seen, the better your ability.

Did you already work abroad? If yes, could you tell us more about your international experiences?
Yes, while I am currently based out of my home country, Ireland, I have worked internationally since graduation and have, to-date, completed assignments, of varying durations, in over 40 countries. It has always, and continues to, amaze me that I am paid to go to places that others can only dream of, or see on the Discovery Channel. Mineral exploration is, I believe, one of a very few professions where it is considered normal for one to go to a country you have never been, to meet with people that you have never met, and to go with them, often for weeks, into the bush, jungle, desert or mountains to look at rocks and hopefully to find the next big orebody. That to me is one of the attractions of the profession – every day is a new experience, and a new challenge.

More information on the EurGeol title: