Geological mapping commences in northern region
By Deborah Manda
The Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has commenced field surveys marking the second phase of the Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment Project (GEMMAP) in the northern region.
The Ministry is implementing the project through the Departments of Mines and Geological Survey, and engaged a consortium of the Geological Survey of France, Geological Survey of Finland and Council for Geosciences of South Africa as technical partners.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Patrick Matanda says in a statement the field investigations shall involve, mapping of geological units, collection of soil sediments and rock samples for laboratory analysis, collection of data on mining activities in the areas visited and mapping of geohazards.
The project is also doing in-depth surveys in places where it shows that there are precious stones in connection with the recent countrywide high resolution airborne geophysical survey named Kauniuni,
He says the main objective of the project is to support the Geological Survey department and the mining sector by advancing the geological knowledge and capacity building.
GEMMAP has six components which are; geological mapping, mineral resource potential mapping, natural risks (geo-hazards) mapping, support to small scale mining, procurement of laboratory field equipment and construction of a documentation center at GSD and capacity building.
The Ministry appeals to the general public to take note of the commencement of the field mapping and render their support for the success of the project.
The implementation of GEMMAP is consistent with the Government of Malawi’s development blue print, the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II) and Mines and Minerals Policy document of February 2013, the main aim of which is to maximize the mining sector’s contribution to the country’s sustainable socio-economic growth.
The geological mapping component of the project involves systematic mapping of the geology of Malawi, doing field observations and collecting samples for petrographic, geo-chemical and geo-chronological studies.
The project will replace the archival geological maps produced in 1966 based on aerial photo interpretation, field mapping and thin section petrography with new ones produced using advanced technologies which will integrate archival geoscientific data, high-resolution geophysical data, satellite multi-spectral data, GPS-referenced field observation, advanced structural analysis and modern laboratory analysis.
Deliverables shall include updated geological maps at scales of 1:1,000,000 (1 map); 1:250,000 (10 maps) and 1:100,000(40 maps) and accompanying reports.
Under its inception phase, GEMMAP has worked to improve the data storage situation at GSD through organisation/classification of data/creation of metadata, selection of relevant data for various GEMMAP modules, data treatment and analysis.
This resulted in the production of an inception report covering a review of the Malawi geology in relation with that of surrounding countries, mineral resources assessment of Malawi, geohazards catalogue, review of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASSM) sector, production of geological and structural maps, metadata of GSD Technical Reports, transfer of past geochemical surveys into GIS and georeferencing of historical 100k geological maps.
The project has, therefore, improved the data storage situation at GSD by replacing analogue data with modern digital data which is easier to access.
Data at GSD has been mostly in hard copy format which is difficult to access, query and analyse with most books at the library older than 40 years.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 62 (June 2018).