Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) – is seeking to collaborate with various geological institutes, including Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI) across Southern Africa to carry out prospecting within the region in the next five years. JOGMEC, a Japanese institute, was formed in 2004 for purposes of securing a stable supply of oil and natural gas as well as supply of nonferrous metals and mineral resources. In 2008, JOGMEC in partnership with Department of Geological Surveys – now called BGI – established the Geologic Remote Sensing Centre in Lobatse. On Tuesday this week, the duo celebrated 10th anniversary of the remote sensing project which was coupled with presentation from each organisation about its mission and projects from 11 SADC countries, including Botswana. JOGMEC Botswana General Manager Susumu Nagae said for the next five years they have decided to carry out prospecting within the region and that would involve what is called cooperative geological survey. First JOGMEC will conduct trainings on fundamentals of how to use equipment, software and other related materials as well as training of trainers and cooperative satellite analysis and field survey. The first stage of the cooperative geological survey would be regional mapping followed by geochemical survey and lastly airborne geophysics. Nagae said JOGMEC will ask all geological surveys to offer a proposal to the institution and it will review and select areas in terms of potential contribution in mineral supply to Japan. “Respective cooperative geological survey will be executed under respective agreement,” said Nagae, adding that JOGMEC continues with its transfer of skills activities. Technical transfer according to Nagae will be an annual multilateral technical event. Giving a presentation on BGI and its mandate, Director Science Delivery, Puso Akanyang said the institute exists to undertake research in the field of geoscience and provide specialised geo-scientific services.
BGI’s mandate is also to act as a custodian of geoscience information and promote the search for and exploration of any minerals in Botswana. The institution, which is a wholly-owned government entity, was established through the Botswana Geoscience Institute Act of 2014. BGI, which was previously known as Department of Geological Surveys, is currently undertaking the third revision of the pre-Kahalari geology map of Botswana which is a three-year project and will run from 2018 until 2021. Akanyang said the last revision was done in 1997 and no subsequent updates undertaken since even though, post 1997, geological mapping, nationwide aeromagnetic and gravity surveys, exploration and private sector report, university thesis and local papers and international publications have become available. He said the revision comes at a time when requisite data and technologies, including modeling software, remote sensing skills and remote sensing centre are available to advance geological knowledge of the country to unlock economic diversification by inter-alia, increasing mineral base of the country. Approximately 25 percent of Botswana land area is said to be covered by pre-Kalahari geological formations where most mineral discoveries and mines are located while the unexposed 75 percent of the Pre-Kalahari geology rocks are believed to be potential metallogenic provinces with unexplored and untapped mineral potential that can drive diversification from diamonds and are known to host mineral resources. The collaboration between BGI and JOGMEC started in 2008 and included the establishment of Remote Sensing Centre in Lobatse, training of selected BGI officers as well as from other SADC member states and carrying out joint collaboration projects. Some of achievements of the BGI/JOGMEC collaboration include the establishment of the remote sensing centre in Lobatse, training of 23 BGI employees in remote sensing, training of two master instructors and one instructor and seminars and competitions hosted in Lobatse attended by the SADC region geologists. BGI will rely on JOGMEC for advice on many technical areas including that can advance mineral discoveries. JOGMEC is carrying out similar activities in various SADC countries and in Swaziland it has taken part in training a total of 15 officers on remote sensing. Director of Lesotho Geological Survey Ngakane Ngakane said the Ministry of Mining in that country is collaborating with JOGMEC to improve development of mineral respurces.