EurGeol of the month: Rubén Esteban Pérez

“European Geologist of the month” is a section of EFG’s monthly newsletter GeoNews. Each month we 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. This month we have talked to Rubén Esteban Pérez, member of the Spanish Association of Professional Geologists (ICOG).

Rubén was born in Logroño (Spain) in 1970. He studied his degree at the University of Zaragoza and later at the University of Oviedo, where he specialized in geological materials. Expert in the field of Geological Engineering Consultancy applied in mining for 15 years, he has extensive experience in research and development of mineral products for the construction, mining code reports and management of mining and quarrying projects.
He has worked in several international mining and cement companies and in the Spanish Public Administration as a researcher in geosciences specialized in geological heritage.
He is a member of the Spanish Association of Professional Geologists (ICOG) since 1996, EurGeol at the European Federation of Geologists (EFG) since 2005 and a member of its Panel of Experts “Minerals” on Mineral Resources and Reserves. Finally, he is also a member of the Expert Group of Classification of Resources and Mineral Reserves at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on R&D (Horizon 2020).

Rubén Esteban Pérez

EurGeol title number: 639
Country: Spain
In which country do you currently work? – Spain
In which field of geology do you work? – Engineering geology, Minerals, Petrology, Due Diligence, Quality, Prefeasibility and feasibility studies, Project Management

How would you explain to the average person what geology is and why it is important? – Geology is the science / technology that deals, among other activities, with the study of the location of raw materials whose origin is the land, its sustainable and economically viable exploitation, its transformation into manufactured products and its sale with international quality criteria.

What inspired you to become a geologist? – My grandfather was a miner at the beginning of the 20th century in the hydraulic works developed in Spain for the generation of electricity. His stories opened my mind to the world of geology and to the interior of the Earth. It also helped a little the readings of Jules Verne.

Have you been a geologist all your life? If not, what other job(s) have you done? – Yes. After finishing my studies at University, I started working in a multinational mining company, later in the Spanish Public Research Administration, a multinational cement company and currently as a consultant for several companies and European administrations.

In which sector(s) did/do you work? – Mainly, I have worked and work in mining, construction and Project Management and, several years ago, as a researcher in geological heritage.

What do you currently do in your job? Could you describe an average day? – For years I have been a geologist who dedicates a shorter fieldwork time with regard to meeting time and office management. The mining project management is my specialty and this work brings together activities of due diligence, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, risk assessment, estimating, inspection, project information management and reporting and finally, closure mining and mine reclamation.

What’s your favourite part of your job? – To be in contact with people of different nationalities and to know the regulations of other countries about subjects as diverse as environment, safety and health in the work, exploration and mining exploitation and also economic geology.

What is your proudest accomplishment as a geologist? – One of the jobs that I am proudest of having done, is the management of the quality and supplies of raw materials for the construction of a large hospital complex in Spain in a record time where a great teamwork, management-logistics and quality control was developed. In this project I learned a lot and realized that the geologist, despite not being considered in Europe as a technician within the common core of engineering, is more than ready to work in multidisciplinary management environments in the complex and too restricted world of construction and mining.

Could you explain when and why you applied for the European Geologist title? – In 2005 because I thought it was necessary to have an international personal certification that would accredit knowledge and experience as a geologist in my main areas of work.

Did you already work abroad? If yes, could you tell us about your experiences abroad? – Yes. I have worked in Europe mainly in matters related to mining project management and quality of geological raw materials for construction and for manufactured products such as cement and concrete. I have also carried out projects and works in countries of MENA and EACU areas with a lot of management using new technologies. My experience has been good, fruitful, exciting and very instructive living and / or working with people of different nationalities and learning from all of them.

What are your professional projects/aspirations in the future? – I do not know because future is uncertain, but I would like to be able to work in mining and mineral resources policy in Spain and in Europe.

There are fewer women working in geology than men. What would you say to girls who might be interested in a career in geology? – That is an exciting profession, where you can learn a lot about the planet in which we live from different points of view. It is a profession that requires a lot of effort and dedication and does not always have a recognition on the part of the business world and society, but it is as technical as an engineering and as creative as a science and that mixture is only found in the geological sciences.

Why should young people consider a career in geosciences? – Because geology is a profession for the future. The different aspects of the geological sciences, in particular the sustainable exploitation of our mining resources, the environmental management of construction sites and mining operations, the circular economy related to raw materials, geological heritage and the mitigation of natural hazards are areas with potential for employment in the near future.

What kind of personal qualities do you need as a geoscientist? – Work capacity, spatial vision, effort, multidisciplinary and ability to work in multicultural environments.

What does the European Federation of Geologists represent for you and what do you expect from our association? – EFG must accomplish, in my opinion, a key role for the future of geology in Europe and outside Europe. On the one hand it should serve as a receiver of the National Associations’ demands to channel them to the European institutions for the improvement of many aspects of the profession. On the other hand, it should be the interlocutor with the European administrations as far as the policy regarding to working conditions and legislation affecting the profession of geologist. Finally, it must be represented in all forums and projects dealing with geology from a professional point of view and make the title of EurGeol the international passport of the European geologist to work outside the EU.

Why does it matter to have a European, cross-border community of geologists? – Because union makes strength. National professional associations of geologists should have a close relationship through the EFG with associations of geologists from cross-border countries outside the EU. This will strengthen ties relating to the improvement of the profession, relations with administrations outside Europe and the international value of geology as engineering.

To know you a little better: What do you like to do in your spare time? – In my spare time I like to play sports, especially those which are in contact with nature (trekking, biking…) and read something that is not related with work, a novel for example. The historic novels are my favourites. I like to share my free time with my family and do activities together (go to the cinema, go for lunch, travel, to spend the day in the field…).

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