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26 April 2001

Symposium unqualified success

The second national Opal Symposium held in Coober Pedy between April 10 and 12 has been declared an unqualified success by the organisers.

Some 160 delegates and speakers from around Australia and overseas attended the Symposium and enjoyed the hospitality of Coober Pedy. They were presented with a variety of workshops and seminars that were, according to Neville Hyatt, the Chairperson of the organising committee "designed to stimulate discussion and challenge delegates to think of where the industry is headed," he said.

Mr Hyatt, in his welcoming address, also said that "the social interaction that these symposiums allow is something that rarely happens in an industry that operates in some of the most remote places in Australia".

Sessions about factors influencing opal formation, prospecting techniques, marketing of the finished gemstone and mine safety were covered. Rob Kenny of the Australian Taxation Office gave a somewhat controversial presentation. In short the ABN is with you.

Financially the symposium is likely to make a small surplus and allow the forwarding of a "seeding" grant to Queensland.

Over two hundred people squeezed into the Desert Cave for the symposium dinner held on the Wednesday night. The highlight of this evening was the opal fashion parade, "Opal on View" which featured Tatiana Grigorieva. This was followed by after dinner Speaker Ron Barrasi.

In the concluding session of the symposium, President Kevin Phillips of the Quilpie branch of the Queensland Boulder Opal Association, was greeted with ovation, when he accepted, on behalf of the Queensland opal fields, the task of running the next Opal Symposium in 2003.

As a concluding comment, one older opal miner from Coober Pedy was heard to say to another delegate when asked how he felt about the symposium, "I feel sorry for all the local miners who didnít attend."

Opal Symposium Committee

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