Neil Phillips graduated in geoscience from the University of Melbourne (BSc), Monash University (BSc Hons, PhD) and Harvard Business School (Advanced Management Program). His thesis was on the metamorphism and geochemistry around Broken Hill, NSW.
As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Australia, he co-founded the Archaean Gold Group in 1980 with David Groves, as they developed the geological principles used in gold exploration today. As a lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from 1984, he established research projects at all the operating Witwatersrand gold mines. He was subsequently made Professor of Economic Geology at James Cook University and developed the extended field programs in the Cloncurry–Mt Isa region. From 2001, he was Chief of the Division of Exploration and Mining during one of CSIRO’s transformational periods.
As a consultant in Kalgoorlie for Minsaco Resources and then General Manager for Great Central Mines, he led the geological development of the Yandal gold province north of Kalgoorlie in a role that included teaching, research and mentoring with teams of mine and exploration geologists.
An important part of Neil’s life had roots in the scouting movement. With colleagues in Surrey Thomas Rovers in the 1970s, he co-founded the sport of rogaining – 24-hour cross country navigation. Through a series of leadership roles including being president of the International Rogaining Federation for 24 years, he led the growth of rogaining in all Australian states and then into 30 countries on all continents.
Honorary professorial appointments at the University of Melbourne, Monash University, and Stellenbosch University in South Africa have involved collaborative research, leadership of the Melbourne Geology of Gold course since 1995 and a similar course on gold in South Africa.
Neil is editor of the Applied Earth Science (Transactions) journal and AusIMM Monograph 32 Australian Ore Deposits, regularly publishes in scientific journals and has written and edited several books on geoscience, cross-country navigation and rogaining. Neil is married with four children and stays active with regular field work, rogaining and skiing.