|Earthworks (DFID, 2000, 8 p.)|
Knowledge & Research
Department for International Development
ISSUE 10 May 2000
Cover picture: Geological field camp, Peruvian Andes.
Geoscience KaR 2000 programme
The KaR Steering Committee met recently to I review proposals for the geoscience sector. A I panel of experts recommended projects grouped according to the following themes:
· Theme G1 - promote environmentally sensitive mineral resource development
· Theme G2 - (incorporating previous Theme G3) - improve geological, geochemical and geotechnical hazard avoidance strategies in development planning
· Theme G4 - improve understanding of the engineering properties of geological materials in developing countries and develop new engineering and environmental applications for their use
· Theme G5 - development strategies and systems for maintaining and improving national geoscience information services
Effective development of river mining (I October 2000 to 30 September 2003)
Description: improved utilisation and reduced environmental degradation from river mining through effective resource management.
Contact: Mr David Harrison, British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham NG12 5GG
Tel: 0115 936 3213
Fax: 0115 936 3352
Landslide risk assessment in the rural access sector, Nepal (1 April 2000 to 28 February 2003)
Description: to achieve measurable improvements in the translation of landslide hazard into landslide risk, vulnerability and management, in the rural access and rural development sectors in fragile mountains in developing countries.
Contact: Dr Gareth Hearn, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick & Co Ltd, Scott House, Basing View, Basingstoke,
Hampshire RG21 4JG
Tel: 01256 461161
Fax: 01256 460582
For more information on KaR geoscience projects visit www.bgs.ac.uk/dfid-kar-geoscience
Commonwealth Geological Surveys Forum
David Ovadia, British Geological Survey
The second meeting of the Commonwealth Geological Surveys Forum took place in I Pretoria, 20-23 February, 2000. The British Geological Survey and the Commonwealth Science Council organised the first meeting of the Heads of Commonwealth Geological Survey Organisations at Keyworth, Nottingham, in May 1998. The recent meeting in Pretoria was generously hosted by the Council for Geoscience, South Africa and delegates received financial support from the UK Department for International Development towards their travel and accommodation costs.
Nineteen Commonwealth countries were represented at the Forum, which included sessions dealing with recent developments in each survey, the economic value of geoscience information in developing countries and visits to a former gold mine and various departments within the Council for Geoscience.
Most of the geological survey organisations represented reported continuing high levels of activity in primary mapping and surveying. Those of the UK and New Zealand, in particular, are responding to the need to obtain funding from new sources, including industry and commerce. Most countries are involved in environmental geochemistry and climate change programmes, to some extent. There was a productive debate on how to increase political awareness of the benefits to the nation's economies and quality of life resulting from survey work.
The meeting was unanimous in its praise for Dr Nok Frick of the Council for Geoscience, South Africa, for hosting the meeting and took the opportunity to wish Dr Tony Reedman of the BGS every future happiness on the occasion of his retirement. The next meeting is planned provisionally to take place in Namibia in 2002.
Attendees at the 2nd meeting of the Commonwealth Geological Surveys Forum.
Photo: Council for Geoscience, Republic of South Africa
Geoscience meetings in Africa
The Geological Society of Africa is supporting I and assisting the organisation of the following I meetings during 2000-2001:
· GeoLuanda 2000. Colloquia on African micropalaeontology, South Atlantic Mesozoic stratigraphy and palaeogeography, and IGCP meeting on the Kibaran orogeny, 21-24 May 2000. For details see www.netangola.com/geoluanda2000 or contact the organisers on E-mail: email@example.com or fax +244 2 333 290.
· 18th Colloquium of African Geology, Graz, Austria, 3-7 July 2000. For details see www.kfunigraz.ac.at/gepwww/cag/cag.htm or contact the organisers on E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com or fax +43 316 380 9870.
· Africa Minerals Forum Conakry 2000, Conakry, Guinea, 6-10 November 2000. Themes include mineral, hydrocarbon and water resources, environmental protection, artisanal mining, geoscience data management, etc. For details contact the organisers on E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or fax +244 45 50 26, or +33145809209.
Ceri James, British Geological Survey, Project R6840
The recent and continuing growth of coastal cities in south-east Asia has resulted in a major expansion in construction and strong demand for aggregates for building, roadstone and land reclamation. This demand has been met previously by land-based supplies but in recent years offshore aggregates have made an increasingly important contribution. The British Geological Survey has recently completed a study concerned with the effective development of offshore aggregates in south-east Asia. The study aims to:
· provide guidelines for planning and execution of offshore aggregate resource surveys
· encourage adoption of long-term planning, surveying and monitoring methods
· encourage environmentally sensitive and sustainable methods of offshore sand and gravel extraction.
Because of possible environmental impacts, offshore dredging is usually subject to licencing controlled by national or local government. The licence terms and procedures vary in detail from country to country but the best practices adopted are described.
Pearl Estuary building sand barged for use on tile Central Reclamation, Hong Kong.
Photo: Ian Selby
The report provides the reader with a description of the issues involved in the dredging of offshore aggregates, with a focus on the location, reserve estimation, licencing and monitoring aspects. It is hoped that this will provide an effective background to assist planners and dredging companies to develop a licencing and extraction policy which leads to the required supply of aggregate and at the same time limits the damage to the local offshore environment.
A trailing suction hopper dredger at a borrow area dredging marine aggregate, Hong Kong.
Photo: Ian Selby
i. Extraction of marine aggregates is likely to increase substantially in the years ahead as pressure increases to build at or near coastal locations and land based aggregate supplies become scarce.
ii. National or state licencing authorities need to locate, assess and quantify marine aggregate resources to formulate and administer long term sustainable extraction policies.
iii. Legislative frameworks need to be adopted to control indiscriminate extraction of marine sand and gravel and destruction of coral reefs for aggregate.
iv. Comprehensive site investigations and geological interpretations are essential in understanding the form and geometry of potential deposits of marine aggregates.
v. Environmental issues can only be addressed with a regional understanding of sea bed habitats, sedimentary environments and hydrographic conditions.
Workshops held in Thailand (3-8 May 1999) and in the Philippines (9-12 May 1999) helped disseminate the results of the project to a wide audience from the region. The latter workshop contributed significantly to the formulation of new Guidelines for Offshore Mining and Seabed Quarrying which was published as an Executive Order.
Tony Reedman, British Geological Survey, Project R7200
Most national geological survey organisations (GSOs) were set up to carry out systematic geological mapping with a major objective being the assessment of the nation's mineral resources. In many countries, regional reconnaissance surveys were followed by more rigorous surveys of selected areas where indications of a particular mineral resource had been found. Sometimes the investigations by the GSO went so far as to carry out drilling programmes aimed at establishing the actual amount, or reserves, of the particular resource present. However, in recent years there is a generally accepted view that although systematic nationwide geoscience surveying should be the major responsibility of the national, publicly funded GSO, detailed exploration and proving of mineral deposits should be left to the private sector. The aim of the systematic regional surveys carried out at public expense is to stimulate interest by the private sector and provide information upon which private sector investment in mineral exploration projects can be based. This involves the selection of target areas for detailed exploration by the private sector based on the analysis of information contained in geological and other geoscience maps and reports issued by the GSO.
Such policies for GSO functions have been summarised by the World Bank (1996) which has stressed that the role of a national GSO 'is to develop and maintain a reliable national earth science database' with the GSO providing 'the basic geological knowledge for the mineral industry'. In addition, the GSO 'should be an important mining investment tool' with one of its responsibilities being 'the provision of geological information to potential investors'. The international mining and mineral exploration industry has, in several recent surveys, confirmed that a very important factor in making their investment decisions for overseas mineral exploration projects is the availability of geoscience information in the form of systematic coverage by geoscience maps.
"... the aim of the systematic regional surveys carried out at public expense is to stimulate interest by the private sector and provide information upon which private sector investment in mineral exploration projects can be based..."
A recent project (R7200: The societal value of geoscience information in LDCs) carried out by the British Geological Survey has investigated ways in which an approximate value can be put on geoscience information by simple cost-benefit analysis of geological surveying projects. As part of this study, the long term impacts of several DFID-funded technical cooperation projects, each involving systematic geological or geochemical surveying of large tracts of developing countries by their GSOs working in collaboration with the BGS, have been examined. The object was to see if such projects had resulted in further investment in mineral exploration and subsequent mine development by the private sector mining industry following publication of the survey results.
View, in 1990, of the Elizabeth Open Pit at the Royal Family Mine, Filabusi, Zimbabwe.
Peter Pitfield, BGS © NERC
Time is obviously a factor in fully realising the impact of regional geological surveying projects on resource development as, even when subsequent mineral exploration results in the discovery of an economic ore deposit, many years may pass before a mine is developed and mineral production commences. For this reason a variety of survey projects completed between seven and as much as 30 years ago were chosen for study.
Local transport of geological surveying equipment, Peru.
BGS © NERC
The oldest project reviewed involved the surveying of approximately 25 000 km2 of rugged terrain in the Western Cordillera of northern Peru. The project was implemented by the BGS (then the Institute of Geological Sciences) and the Servicio de Geologia y Mineria (SGM), Lima, Peru, between 1967 and 1971. The main activity was the geochemical exploration of the designated area aimed at aiding the assessment of its overall mineral potential and the production of information which could lead to the discovery of hitherto unknown metalliferous mineral deposits of possible economic importance. The results of the survey were published in 1971 and three particularly outstanding copper anomalies and several other anomalous regions were identified and recommended for follow-up exploration. The results of the latter have proved dramatic, including the discovery of the La Granja copper deposit, reputed to be the tenth largest in the world which, it was reported at the beginning of this year, contained some 30 billion pounds of copper. The La Granja mine is now being developed with planned production of 33 000 tons of copper per annum over a period of 15 years. A further anomalous area recommended for follow-up exploration in 1971 has become the site of a major gold mine, Yanacocha, with mineable reserves of 31 million ounces of gold and projected output for 1999 of 1.75 million ounces valued at almost US$500 million at current prices. The cost of the initial survey by BGS and SGM which drew attention to those areas for private sector investment, which in turn resulted in these major mineral discoveries, was less than US$0.5 million.
In Bolivia, a project to geologically and geochemically map almost a quarter of a million square kilometres of eastern Bolivia has had less dramatic, but nevertheless important, results. The project was carried out between 1976 and 1986 by the BGS in collaboration with the Servicio Geologico de Bolivia (GEOBOL). The terrain surveyed comprised areas covered by almost inaccessible jungle and areas vegetated by a mixture of grassland, scrubland and deciduous forest. The geology was virtually unknown prior to the BGS/GEOBOL study. Because of this lack of knowledge it had been considered of limited mineral potential.
"... in total, the additional value of mineral production and increased reserves of resources greatly exceeds the modest cost of the initial surveying projects that stimulated the additional investment..."
The outputs of the project included some fourteen 1:250 000 map sheets and a geochemical atlas of the whole area at 1:1 000 000 scale. These laid the foundation for future exploration by stimulating interest in its mineral potential. In the words of the Associan de Mineros Medianos, the published information 'identified indications of possible mineral deposits which now form the basis for any commercial exploration of the region'. It has been calculated that subsequent to the initial project at least US$40 million has been invested in exploration and after twelve years of exploration two producing mines have resulted, with joint production worth some US$10 m in 1999. A further mine is in development and investment in local infrastructure is considerable. The cost of the initial BGS/GEOBOL project was approximately US$4 m.
Stream sediment sampling from a deep pool, Serrania San Simon, Beni
Peter Pitfield, BGS © NERC
Two further projects reviewed, one covering the whole of Sumatra, Indonesia, and another more specialised survey in Zimbabwe, have similarly stimulated sizeable amounts of private sector investment and new discoveries of mineral resources. In total, the additional value of mineral production and increased reserves of resources greatly exceeds the modest cost of the initial surveying projects that stimulated the additional investment.
Small scale plant - a rod mill in operation, Wanderer Gold Mine, Shurugwi, Zimbabwe.
Peter Pitfield, BGS © NERC
It must be stated that, although the exploitation of mineral resources is generally acknowledged to make a significant contribution to economic growth, and in turn employment opportunities, in many developing countries, too little account has been taken in the past of the environmental consequences. Mining is therefore regarded by many as an undesirable and unsustainable development activity leaving in its wake a legacy of environmental damage and clean-up costs. Nowadays, however, greatly improved government regulation of mining activities in most developing countries, based on proper concern for environmental protection, coupled with an increasingly responsible attitude adopted by the international mining community, has lead to better mining and mineral procuring techniques and new regimes of mine closure and environmental restoration. In this context it should be noted that the systematic collection of geoscience baseline data by GSOs is essential not only for encouraging mineral exploitation investment but also for establishing, controlling and mitigating the resulting environmental impacts through well-informed regulation and enforcement.
"... greatly improved government regulation of mining activities in most developing countries, based on proper concern for environmental protection, coupled with an increasingly responsible attitude adopted by the international mining community, has lead to better mining and mineral procuring techniques and new regimes of mine closure and environmental restoration..."
Headgear of the Phoenix Incline, Globe and Phoenix Mine, Kwekwe, Zimbabwe. Historically this is the second largest gold producer in Zimbabwe.
Peter Pitfield, BGS © NERC
Steve Mathers, British Geological Survey, Project R7117
Throughout history volcanoes have exerted a strong influence on man and, with the development of sophisticated communications, the awesome explosive power of volcanic eruptions is now regularly reported from sites all around the world. Volcanic eruptions cause considerable loss of life either directly through the physical act of eruption or indirectly through floods produced by tsunami or famine generated by subsequent crop failure. The names of many famous volcanoes such as Krakatoa, Vesuvius and St Helens are synonymous with death and destruction. Yet, despite the considerable dangers there is another side to the story. Aesthetically many volcanoes such as the relatively dormant Fuji, Rainier and Kilimanjaro are recognised as objects of great beauty with rich spiritual and mythological histories. More tangible benefits from volcanic activity include geothermal energy, fertile soils and, perhaps most significantly, the varied rocks produced by eruptions - many of which are significant raw materials in construction.
Project participants meet during the Project Forum at Keyworth May 1999.
Photo: Steve Mathers
The utilisation of volcanic rocks in construction is the focus of a three-year KaR project which began in September 1998. This article profiles the project and reports on its progress to date. The project aims to improve the understanding of the properties of volcanic raw materials and to develop applications for them. The principal materials are lavas, pumice/scoria, perlite, zeolite-rich rocks, ashes and tuffs. These are used as sources of aggregate, lightweight aggregate, pozzolana for cement and concrete, and expanded perlite which is used as loose-fill granules and in plasterboard. Volcanic deposits are plentiful in many developing countries but are often under utilised. Project components include:
· the design and testing of exploration methods to identify prospective raw materials
· capacity building through joint field and laboratory studies with counterpart staff
· the provision of advice and technical information to public bodies and the private sector
· the publication of technical fact sheets and a comprehensive manual describing the exploration, evaluation and usage of volcanic raw materials
· dissemination of the project findings through three regional workshops.
Mount St Helens, Washington, USA erupted violently in 1980. Despite the awesome destructive power at many volcanoes the deposits produced often make useful construction raw materials.
Photo: Steve Mathers
The philosophy of the approach is to try wherever possible to evaluate the potential of volcanic raw materials in situ rather than through systematic sampling and laboratory testing. In simple terms, we are trying to take the laboratory to the rocks rather than the converse. The advantage of this is the considerable savings in shipment costs and the ability to focus detailed laboratory work only on the most promising raw materials. With this in mind we are evaluating several chemical tests which permit the field identification of zeolite minerals and are using the portable infrared minerals analyzer (PIMA) to directly identify zeolite-bearing rocks and hydrated volcanic glasses which are prospective perlites.
Besides the more routine laboratory techniques (including density, porosity, grain size, resistance to wear and the use of X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, differential thermal analysis, microprobe and petrographic examination, and image analysis), more specialised end-user experiments have been also undertaken. These include the construction of an inclined furnace enabling the laboratory testing of hydrated volcanic glasses as prospective perlites (in consultation with the local engineering consultants Mike Allen Associates), and in-depth studies of the pozzolanic properties of the volcanic ash recently erupted on Montserrat being carried out by our partners at the Buildings Research Establishment, Garston, UK.
Field exploration has been undertaken in Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Counterpart staff have received extensive advice on the identification and field testing of the volcanic raw materials and, at the same time, prospective deposits of pumice, scoria, pozzolanic ash, perlite and zeolites have been located and the main prospects sampled and evaluated.
In May 1999 the project partners from all the participating countries attended a forum at BGS Keyworth in order to:
· review project progress and strategy
· make presentations about the own countries raw materials and needs
· visit UK industrial minerals operations
· be provided with extensive teaching materials to ensure dissemination of the project work in their own countries
· become familiar with laboratory testing procedures
· enable everyone to meet all their fellow collaborators and exchange views.
The main project publications will include scientific papers, technical reviews and fact sheets, and a comprehensive manual. Two major technical reviews have been produced to date: one on alkali-silica reactivity by Ted Sibbick of the Buildings Research Establishment and another on volcanics in infrastructure construction by Martin Woodbridge from the Transport Research Laboratory based at Crowthorne, UK. A series of seven technical fact sheets on varied volcanic raw material commodities are in press and will be distributed widely in the next few months. The manual will be the major publication which will detail all the techniques used for exploration, evaluation and usage of volcanic raw materials: it is scheduled for publication in March 2001. Three regional workshops will be held to disseminate the results of the project.
The VOLCON project is led by a team at the British Geological Survey comprising Steve Mathers, David Harrison, Peter Dunkley. Simon Inglethorpe, Ellie Evans and Claire Cotton. Other UK-based collaborators include Ted Sibbick of the Buildings Research Establishment (BRE); Martin Woodbridge from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and Mike Allen of Mike Allen Associates.
The other key participants are John Kagasi (Department of Mines and Geology, Nairobi, Kenya). Zacharia Bongole (Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Dodoma, Tanzania), Fernando Alvarado (ICE, San Jose, Costa Rica), Mario Maya (INGE-OMINAS, Bogota, Colombia), Jose G and formerly Bolivar Flores (DINAGE - formerly CODIGEM, Quito, Ecuador)
More information can be obtained by contacting the project manager Steve Mathers at the British Geological Survey, Keyworth, Nottingham. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eugene O'Connor, Colm Jordan, James Passmore, British Geological Survey, Project R7198
Geological survey organisations (GSOs) in the developing world are increasingly searching for cost-effective rapid techniques to increase the efficiency of their geological data gathering and for making it available to a larger market in order to encourage inward investment. This project aims to demonstrate that appropriate and affordable technologies such as remote sensing and global positioning systems (GPS), together with the use of the Internet, can contribute to efficiency in diverse geographic and climatic terrains.
Two contrasting climatic and geographic regions, Guyana and Mongolia, were chosen to test the application of these techniques. Both countries have mineral-based economies and the GSOs are keen to apply low-cost mapping and data gathering techniques over large areas which lack up-to-date geological information. Tropical rainforested Guyana is obscured by cloud for much of the year whereas Mongolia includes a range of climatic zones from arid to temperate. Satellite radar imagery, such as Radarsat, can effectively image tropical regions and has the added benefit of high spatial resolution, whereas optical satellite data such as Landsats 5 and 7 are well suited to temperate to arid climates. Online searches of the Internet helped locate cloud-free Landsat data for regions within the ongoing Mongolia Mineral Resources Authority geological mapping and mineral exploration programme. Data for four project sites were processed as band composites and output as 1:50 000 and 1:200 000 scale plots for geological interpretation and field validation. GPS recorders were used to locate field sites in order to geocorrect the raw image data to the local map projection system.
Landsat TM false colour image of the Baltica area, Guyana, overlain with a grey-scale Radarsat scene.
BGS enhanced image
For Guyana, fine beam Radarsat and Landsat 5 TM imagery were similarly obtained via the Internet for the Bartica region to link with Guyana Geology and Mines Commission mapping programmes. Plots at scales varying from 1:50 000 to 1:200 000 were interpreted for geological information content and taken into the field for ground truthing and further rectification using GPS equipment. It was found that whereas the dense rainforest and patchy cloud camouflaged all geological information in the Landsat images, structural and geomorphological information was clearly evident on the radar imagery.
The Internet has significant potential for locating remotely sensed optical/radar imagery for any part of the world. Until recently, such searches were restricted to image maps and hypertext markup language (HTML) based database queries. Moreover, it was necessary to access a plethora of Internet sites if varied data about a geographic location are required. The present project provides potential investors and investigators with a single gateway to the disparate data sources and brokers by marrying two rapidly developing fields for online data queries, namely Geographic Information Systems (GIS) systems and extensible Markup Languages (XML). Browsers will be provided with an embedded GIS interface by which available satellite remote sensing imagery, geological maps and/or topical text can be sourced. The XML based product may be either a simple listing of metadata, with information on supplier details, spatial coordinates, satellite type and sensor etc., or a detailed report on available imagery with recommended processing techniques and excerpts from relevant mineral reports and geological map memoirs. The project will also develop an Internet-based report generation system to provide simple guidance in the application of these techniques tailoired to regional or national requirements.
Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper false-colour image of Olgi District, Western Mongolia
BGS enhanced image
David Harrison, British Geological Survey
The minerals industry plays a vital role in the world's economic development. Construction is an important product of this development and the demand for construction minerals in the building of roads and railways, houses, schools and hospitals, factories and offices is substantial and increasing. Sand, gravel and quarried rock are extensively extracted in most countries for the manufacture of a range of construction mineral products including such basic commodities as aggregates, cement and concrete. Because the major cost component of these bulk, low-value commodities is transport, minerals can only be worked where they occur and must therefore be won as close as possible to the urban centres where they are consumed.
There is, however, an increasing awareness of the environmental impacts of minerals extraction and of the need for geological resource studies to guide strategic mineral and development planning. In many developing countries there is often no factual basis to assess either the potential total or workable construction mineral resources, nor their quality, to inform the planning process.
In recent years the British Geological Survey has carried out several research projects on construction minerals in developing countries under the engineering Knowledge & Research Programme. These include:
· investigations of limestone resources in Thailand and Egypt
· marine aggregates in south-east Asia
· utilisation of volcanic rocks in construction in east Africa and South America
· studies of beach sand resources on tropical islands in the south-west Pacific
· utilisation of mineral wastes from quarrying in central America and southern Africa
· a generic series of industrial minerals workshops held in 14 developing countries.
The underlying objective of these various projects has been to provide a framework for geologists and engineers to plan and execute resource surveys for construction minerals, and to undertake exploration and development of these non-renewable natural resources in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner. Following this approach, a new project has recently been approved which will examine the environmental effects of river mining. This will commence later in 2000.
NEW BOOK - Down to earth solid waste disposal for low income countries
Mansoor Ali, Andrew Cotton and Ken Westlake
This book presents the findings of a Department I for International Development (DFID) funded I project (R 6842). It has been written for policy makers and professional staff of urban governments, development agencies and non-government organizations in low income countries. The book aims to help improve the poor practices of municipal solid waste management that prevail in many low income countries. The book is priced at UK £9.95 Sample copy can be seen at: http://wedc.ac.uk/dte/contents.htm For further details contact: Rod Shaw e-mail: R.J.Shaw@lboro.ac.uk
Working beach sands. Tonga.
Dave Tappin, BGS © NERC
UK Data Protection Act
We hold the Earthworks mailing list as a computer database. Unless we hear to the contrary we assume that all the named recipients of this newsletter have no objection to their details being recorded in this way.
Other DFID Newsletters in the same series
ENERGY EFFICIENCY TRANSPORT URBANISATION WATER
Earthworks, Dr David Greenbaum,
Energy Efficiency, Dr Andrew Gilchrist,
Transport, Ms Linda Parsley,
Urbanisation, Darren Saywell,
Water, Geoff Pearce,
Earthworks is published by:
The British Geological Survey on behalf of the Department for
The views expressed are not necessarily those of DFID.
Dr David Greenbaum
Dr Joanna Thomas
Lithgo Press Ltd, Leicester