Geological and mineral information systems in Africa

The availability of geological and mineral data allows both the public and private sector to make informed decisions on mineral sector development. The more accessible and the information is, the lower the risk on investment in exploration and mine development. Basic geological information is usually collected and stored by Government Geological Survey Departments,

while much of the mineral exploration activities are undertaken by the private sector. Geological data collected on a regular basis throughout Africa can significantly enhance the mineral prospectivity of the continent, and lead to increased green-fields private sector exploration and mine development investment. An added benefit is that geological information has a universal value and is useful in other economic sectors, such as infrastructure and agriculture

Currently, there is limited availability and access to basic geological information and mineral inventories in Africa. A large percentage of the continent is yet to be geologically mapped and explored in a systematic manner and at an appropriate scale. This is mainly due to the inadequate capacity in most member States to carry out exploration activities and store these in digital geological information systems.

The inadequacy of geological and mineral information has resulted in African countries being disadvantaged during negotiations with mining companies. Geological data, including maps and mineral resources inventories are the essential basis for assessing the potential for mineral projects and granting exploration and mining permits. Thus a comprehensive geological and mineral information database will provide governments with better decision-making options and the capacity to negotiate sustainable mineral development contracts with foreign investors.

However, the production, maintenance, and management of geological and mineral information data requires a lot of fieldwork and the use of modern exploration technologies, as well as skills that are generally in short supply in Africa.

NOTE: Some information on this page are from the African Mineral Vision thought starter document 2011.

Write a Reply or Comment