Botswana Geoscience Institute (BGI) says it is looking to heighten the demand for minerals by promoting and encouraging their exploration and development.
BGI chairman, John Farr, says there is increasing demand for diversification away from the mining sector, but they do believe that there should also be an encouragement to diversify within the mining sector, as the country has minerals and energy resources in abundance.
It is for this reason that Farr says there is need to also diversify within the sector itself and says this could be made possible by BGI’s ability to explore, characterise and exploit minerals while ensuring environmental protection around mining sites.
Writing in the organisation’s 2017 annual report, Farr says besides the abundance of the mineral resources, the country has also built sufficient human capital to face any challenge in the minerals sector.
BGI was established through an Act of Parliament in 2014 taking over from the Department of Geological Survey (DGS). The body was established to undertake research in the field of geoscience, provide specialised geoscientific services and advice in all matters of geohazards.
It is also responsible for promoting the search for and exploration of any mineral in Botswana and is the custodian of all geoscience data which include non-confidential prospecting reports.
Farr – the Managing Director of Wellfield Geosciences Group, which a Gaborone based regional groundwater, environmental and engineering consulting group – says in line with Botswana government policy to attract investors into Botswana and increase Foreign Direct Investment, the formation of BGI he says, opens new avenues for collaboration in research and mineral discovery as well as the overall sustainable development of Botswana’s mineral sector and related activities.
Meanwhile BGI chief executive officer Tiyapo Ngwisanyi says they plan to expand and improve Botswana Seismological Network (BSN) to cover the whole country.
He says unavailability of near-real time data transmission facilities, accessibility to some seismic stations are very difficult due to terrain, and lack of fulltime seismic analysts have hampered BGI’s ability to provide timely information after earthquake occurrence.
Ngwisanyi says there has been an observable increase in trends of earthquakes and tremors in Botswana.
“These pose a heightened potential of damage to occur, especially in relation to changing patterns of population distribution,” he said, noting that highest probabilities of earthquake occurrence are in the Okavango Delta in the north-western Botswana.
He says there is an urgent need to be more aware of earthquakes to cope with possible disasters.
Ngwisanyi says they recognise that data and information are central to all modern geological survey organisations.
“While we made tremendous progress in this area in our past life as DGS, we aim to improve on how this data is managed and delivered. We will endeavor to deliver this through the internet and thereby increase our coverage and efficiency,” he says, adding that the process of digitising this information has already started.
Ngwisanyi says another key area of attention is to ensure improved or cultivated public education in the field of geoscience.