Airborne geophysics as a tool to promote mineral investment in Africa
S. Reford, K. Kwan, J. Nyakaana, A. Katumwehe and O. Wane
ASEG Extended Abstracts
2009(1) 1 - 8
Published: 01 January 2009
Airborne geophysics, particularly aeromagnetic and gamma-ray spectrometer (radiometric) surveys, forms a critical component of geological mapping and mineral resource inventory programs in many African countries. In the 60?s and 70?s, regional aeromagnetic surveys were fairly widespread over much of the continent, in both sedimentary and hard rock terrains (Barritt, 1993). In the 80?s and 90?s, higher resolution surveys, incorporating radiometrics, were carried out in certain countries, particularly in southern Africa. In the last decade, a number of national initiatives (e.g. Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Morocco, Mauritania, Nigeria, Ghana, etc.) have seen the high-resolution geophysical coverage greatly improve. The surveys form part of larger initiatives to improve the geological knowledge of a country or region, with the ultimate objective of increasing mineral investment and developing a sustainable mining industry. These geoscience programs are typically accompanied by reforms in the mining law to promote such investment. They contribute to tectonic reconstruction, groundwater and environmental applications, and petroleum exploration, all of which ultimately assist societal development (Reeves, 2005). International funding agencies such as the World Bank, European Community and African Development Bank have seen the value in such programs, and ensure that airborne geophysics receive a large share of project budgets. In jurisdictions throughout the world, it has been demonstrated that high-quality geophysical coverage leads directly to increased and more focused exploration. A trend in the last few years has been the inclusion of an airborne electromagnetic follow-up component to the airborne program. This paper provides current examples from two countries. In Uganda, more than 600,000 line-km of magnetic and radiometric data are being acquired over most of the country. In addition, eight blocks with high mineral potential are being flown with electromagnetic systems (Tempest and heliGeotem). In Senegal, the entire hard rock region has been covered by 130,000 line-km of magnetic and radiometric data, followed by a Tempest survey over three large blocks.
Full text doi:10.1071/ASEG2009ab077
© ASEG 2009