One Day in Europe 2018: Czech Republic

Jiří Jiránek, President of the Czech Association of Economic Geologists (CAEG)

In the 2018 edition of the “One day in Europe” interview series, we are interviewing the Presidents of EFG’s national associations.

In March 2018, we have talked to Jiří Jiránek, President of the Czech Association of Economic Geologists (CAEG). Following his studies in geology at the Charles University of Prague, Jiří Jiránek has been working as a consultant and then as an owner of different companies in the field of minerals exploration. Since 1994 he has been employed by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs and among other missions he has also been the Czech Ambassador in Chile and in Venezuela. Since 2017, he is the President of the Czech Association of Economic Geologists (CAEG). CAEG is a voluntary professional organisation uniting specialists working in the exploration, research and exploitation of mineral deposits in the Czech Republic. CAEG’s mission is to represent the interests of its members and of the field of economic geology.

What are currently the main challenges for your association? – The CAEG is the only Czech representative in EFG and so it aims to continue successfully in the up-to-date activities and all the EFG projects started before (INFACT, INTRAW, KINDRA, CHPM2030, UNEXMIN). A special challenge is for us the care and promotion of young professionals. Among other goals of our focus, there is the collaboration with EFG and propagation of the status of EuroGeologist (EurGeol) in our country.

What is your focus in 2018? – Mainly the EFG projects, the collaboration with Czech ministries (Ministry of Industries and Trade, Ministry of Environment) and the education of our members.

Are you in contact with decision makers at national level? If yes, in which field? – As the main focus of our association is economic geology and mining, our most important counterparts in the level of decision makers there are the directors of the departments dealing with geology (and especially the economic geology) in both the ministries. We also occasionally contact the engaged Deputies and Senators of the Czech Parliament explaining them any important need of the change of legislation in the field of economic geology, and asking their support.

Can you think of any specific activities you would like to carry out to promote geology towards society? – We consider as very important to explain the geologic (and namely the economic geologic) background of any important decision in our branch (e. g. the need of extraction of natural raw materials, waste treatment, looking for underground stores of danger materials and wastes, etc.) and the need of the proposed steps in communication means (newspapers, radio, TV, public meetings). The collaboration with the Group for Education and Propagation of Geology of the Czech Geological Society is also very important in this context.

Do you collaborate with other organisations at national level, either in the field of earth sciences or in other sectors? – Yes, our principal co-partner is the Czech Geological Society. As to me, personally, I am in the same time member of the Board of the Czech Geological Society and also of its Group for Education and Propagation of Geology. I try to inform both the associations mutually about their activities and to coordinate them. We also collaborate with the Union of Geological Associations of the Czech Republic and with the Mining Union.

Do you organise joint activities with EFG member associations in other European countries or similar international organisations? – We annually organise so called Industrial Minerals Forums (lectures and field excursions) together with our Polish colleagues that are held once in the Czech Republic and the other year in Poland. The Slovak geologists also take part in these events.

Is there any experience/good practice from your association that you would like to share with others? – Yes, we would be keen in providing our experience in the organisation of the Industrial Minerals Forums to any part interested in such a thing.

How would you define EFG’s role for the profession of geoscientists at a European and a global level? – EFG is the promotor of interests of all-European (applied) geologists in other European structures, and the mentor and coordinator of joint action of the national members, based in the Common European Policy and common interests.

What does the European Geologist title represent for you? – The most important is the possibility to may act as competent persons in all the European Union, which is especially important for the Central and East European countries.

What are your general hopes for the future of the profession of geologists and how can national and international associations help build that future? – The profession of geologist and namely of an applied geologist will be very important even in the future, especially in ensuring new deposits of necessary raw materials, their sustainable extraction, recultivation after extraction, etc. The shortage of water reserves becomes more and more important and it makes hydrogeologists extremely important in our lives, as well as new housing, industrial, electricity, water management, agricultural, logistical and environmental constructions shall call for good engineering geologists. New technologies need new raw minerals, as we can see in the case of lithium in our country. As to me, I would like to strengthen the need of investigation of new non-traditional industrial minerals, as well as the investigation of the possibilities of re-use of waste materials, both from the mining as well as from the industrial processes. The application of geology in environmental projects is another great challenge that all the national and international associations should take into account.

More information about CAEG: http://www.calg.cz/

More information on the EurGeol title: https://eurogeologists.eu/eurgeol-title/

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