Graham Pope Price

By March 25th, 2011


Graham Pope Price was born in Sydney, NSW on 2 March 1947 and spent most of his formative years living on the north shore of Botany Bay. Most weekends were spent either fishing in the bay or surfing at Maroubra Beach a short bicycle ride away. He developed a love and understanding of the beach and the water which continues to this day.

Graham studied geology at The University of Sydney completing his honours degree (on the geology of an area in the Barrier Ranges north of Broken Hill) in 1969. During the final years of his undergraduate studies he held a Traineeship with the NSW Geological Survey and when he graduated he joined the Survey in the Geochemistry Section. He returned to Sydney University in 1970 as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Geology and Geophysics and began postgraduate studies. He completed his PhD in 1975 with a thesis titled: ‘Quartz C-Axis Fabric Analysis by the Photometric Method’. Graham developed his strong interests in optical microscopy and computing during this time.

Graham joined the CSIRO Division of Applied Geomechanics in Melbourne in 1974 with the casual comment:

They were the only organisation in the world who offered me a job in the area I was interested in – rock and soil fabrics and rock deformation. I had nowhere else to go.


Graham held several positions and led many projects in CSIRO, rising to Chief Research Scientist. His worked mostly focused on problems in rock and soil behaviour in underground and open pit mining. He visited many of Australia’s mining districts, including:

  • the open cut and underground coal mines in central Queensland
  • the scheelite (tungsten) mine under the sea on King Island
  • the nickel mines of Kambalda in Western Australia
  • the lead-zinc-silver mines at Broken Hill.

In 1980, Graham was a Visiting Scientist at the Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, University of Göttingen, West Germany and in 1983 he was awarded a Canadian Universities Commonwealth Research Fellowship at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB Canada.

From 1984 until 1992, Graham carried out projects with Woodside Petroleum Limited and several other national and international petroleum exploration companies on the fabrics of the carbonate sediment on the Northwest Shelf of Australia. This was the work that led to the Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry Award.

Arising directly from his work with Woodside on the foundations of the North Rankin Platform, Graham won funding from the Australian Research Grants Committee in 1987, to study the development of an artificial cementation method for application to weak porous soils and rocks. He employed several chemists and technical staff and over the next six years together they developed the CIPS (Calcite In situ Precipitation System).

In 1989, Graham was awarded a CSIRO Development Scholarship to undertake management and finance studies with the Institute of Corporate Managers, Secretaries and Administrators. In 1990, he was awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Corporate Management with the Australian Financial Review Prize in Corporate Financial Management.

In 1990, he moved to Perth, Western Australia to head the Rock Mechanics Research Centre and was Program Manager for the Metalliferous Mining Program and the Deposit Delineation and Evaluation Program. From 1992 until 1993, Graham was Acting Chief of the Division of Geomechanics, with staff in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, the period leading to its amalgamation with the Division of Exploration and Geoscience to form CSIRO Exploration and Mining.

In 1992, Graham was the Director Designate in a team application for a Commonwealth Government Cooperative Research Centre. This application was successful with the award of $17 million over 7 years, from 1993-2000. He and the team established agreements among the participants and the Commonwealth Government to establish the Australian Geodynamics Cooperative Research Centre (AGCRC) with Graham as Director and laboratories at Monash, La Trobe and Melbourne universities in Melbourne, the Australian Geological Survey Organisation in Canberra and CSIRO in Perth and Sydney.

The AGCRC received $19.728 million cash and $50.426 million in-kind over seven years and access to industry datasets valued at well over $100 million. It produced a geodynamic framework of the Australian continent which enhanced the exploration industry’s capacity to discover world-class mineral deposits.

This geodynamic framework consisted of:

  • advanced understandings of the geological histories of key prospective regions of Australia, in particular producing new geochronological data
  • major seismological transects of Mount Isa, Broken Hill, eastern NSW, western Victoria and the eastern goldfields of WA around Kalgoorlie
  • new enabling technologies in geochronology, isotope studies, geophysical interpretation and 3D geology modelling
  • a computer modelling system that quantitatively assessed the validity of geodynamic interpretations and simulated the role of fluid flow, thermal perturbations and metal solution/dissolution geochemistry for comparison with known geology. That is, a predictive mineral exploration tool that can analyse whether undiscovered deposits exist in each specific geological area.

The AGCRC encouraged and fostered cooperation of AGCRC staff with 100 scientists in over 80 different international research organisations. It provided financial and technical support to 26 PhD students and 18 MSc students who worked on AGCRC projects. It produced 157 externally reviewed papers or books plus 442 conference abstracts and reports.

The success of the AGCRC prepared the groundwork for a follow-up CRC led by companies in the exploration industry with renewal of funding by the Commonwealth Government for another seven years.

In 1997, Graham moved his ARGC headquarters to Melbourne in order to build closer relationships with research organisations in eastern Australia. He was appointed Adjunct Professor and Director of Geodynamics in the School of Earth Sciences at La Trobe University in 1998.


Graham left CSIRO in 2002 to concentrate on the work of his company, Lithic Technology Pty Ltd to commercialise the CIPS cementation system. This work continues today with a focus on licensing agreements with local and overseas companies. Graham has continued to carry out consulting work for a range of oil and gas companies on the fabrics of their sub-seafloor sediments

Research contributions

Graham has published in the area of optical microscopy methods for analysing the fabrics of deformed rocks, experimental rock and soil deformation, the deformation behaviour of carbonate sediments and artificial cementation of porous materials. Specific research advances include development of:

  • the optical microscopy and computer analysis systems to establish the Photometric Method of crystal orientation fabric analysis
  • a numerical system for predicting mineral comminution and release of ores during grinding
  • new simple shearing and rotational shearing experimental equipment for deforming rocks and soils and used these to study the behaviour of carbonate sediments during shear deformation and the fabrics of synthetic anisotropic aggregates
  • the CIPS permeation grouting system for transforming sands into strong rocks quickly and cheaply.

Honours and awards

1990 Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry Award – for contributions to resolution of foundation problems at the North Rankin A gas platform on the North West Shelf
1990 Australian Financial Review Prize for Corporate Financial Management
1990 Best Paper Award, Structural Geology and Tectonics Division, Geological Association of Canada, for best paper in the Journal of Structural Geology – awarded to GP Price and PF Williams

Appointments, memberships and scholarships

2004 – 07 Principal Fellow (Honorary Associate Professor), School of Earth Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville Victoria
2001 – 05 Adjunct Professor and Director of Geodynamics, Department of Earth Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria
2001 Member of Working Party on Mineral Exploration, Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, Department of Industry Science and Resources
1997 – 2000 Member Advisory Council, Special Research Centre for Tectonics, University of Western Australia
1996 – 2000 Member, Committee of Management, Australian National Seismic Imaging Resource – A Major National Research Facility funded by the Commonwealth Government
1996 – 97 Chairman, Committee of Management, Fractal Graphics – CSIRO Joint Venture
1993 – 95 Participant, CSIRO Leadership Development Program
1993 – 94 Executive Committee Member, Australian Geoscience Council
1993 – 94 Member, Advisory Committee, Key Centre for Teaching and Research in Strategic Mineral Deposits, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Western Australia
1992 – 2001 Member, International Association of Structural/Tectonic Geologists
1992 – 94 Foundation Board Member of The Australian Centre for Geomechanics
1992 – 93 Team Member and Director Designate for AGCRC in award of Commonwealth Government Cooperative Research Centres Grant. $17 million over 7 years
1990 Institute of Corporate Managers, Secretaries and Administrators
1989 – 90 CSIRO Executive Development Year Scholarship
1984 – 86 Vice President, Specialist Group in Tectonics and Structural Geology of the Geological Society of Australia
1983 Canadian Universities Commonwealth Research Fellowship, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB Canada
1980 Visiting Scientist, Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, University of Göttingen, West Germany
1979 – 81 Secretary, Specialist Group in Tectonics and Structural Geology of the Geological Society of Australia
1975 – 78 Member, Royal Society of Victoria
1973 – 79 Associate Member, Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
1970- Member, Geological Society of Australia (GSA), and Member, Specialist Group in Tectonics and Structural Geology of the GSA
1969 Broken Hill Mine Managers Association, Research Scholarship
1969 Esso Australia Ltd, Honours Year Scholarship, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Sydney
1968 – 69 Geological Cadetship, Geological Survey of NSW, Department of Mines of NSW
1965 – 66 Commonwealth Government Tertiary Education Scholarship, University of Sydney


  • Price GP, 2010, Personal communication.