Anne Thompson – 2024 – The Unrecognized Risk of Parachute (Geo)Science


Recognizing the risk that Parachute Science presents enables us to work towards new paradigms that build expertise, supports local communities, and ultimately delivers the natural resources vital for global human society.

Parachute or Helicopter Science is the practice of working in a country without establishing trust, cooperation, and true collaboration with the local community, including the researchers and scientists. Practices vary widely in economic geology, however, traditionally researchers and industry professionals from the global North have viewed themselves as the knowledge experts. Research field work may use local people for geographic and geologic knowledge, but then the researchers return home to carry out the work. It is time to fold up the parachutes and establish collaborative relationships that build the knowledge and skills base within every country in which we work.


Anne Thompson is the producer and host of the SEG Discovery to Recovery Podcast and author of Innovation in Mineral Exploration published by PDAC (2020). She has thirty-five years’ experience working in and consulting to the mineral exploration industry, including field work and applied mineralogy. She was an early adopter of field spectroscopy and co-edited the Atlas of Alteration, a resource for exploration geologists. Anne’s company, PetraScience, a partnership with John Thompson focuses on technology, sustainability, and innovation in the mining industry. Anne was named to the WIMUK Global 100 Inspirational Women in Mining 2020 and won the Society of Economic Geologist’s Marsden Medal in 2022.

Additional Information

Podcast: Discovery to Recovery