4 July 2014

Tanzania: Geological Body Sets Goals to Boost Investment in Mining Sector

IN an effort to render quality services to its clients, the Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST) has set standards aimed at improving mineral exploration and mining in the country.

This government entity has recently implemented such a project through Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP), a scheme which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Minerals and Energy.

GST Chief Executive Professor Abdulkarim Mruma says that his office has used SMMRP fund to conduct high resolution airborne geophysical survey in Dodoma, Bahi, Kongwa, Mpwapwa, Kondoa, Chamwino, Manyoni, Ikungi, Singida, Simanjiro, Arumeru and Mbulu districts.

Other districts are Monduli, Moshi, Kilosa, Gairo, Bagamoyo, Chunya, Mbozi, Handeni, Kilindi, Korogwe, Chemba, Mvomero and Mbarali districts. There have also been magnetic, radiometric and gravity data surveyed by Sanders Geophysics limited using Cessna 208B Grand Caravans.

A total of 556,910 line km of magnetic and radiometric with line spacing of 250m and tie lines of 2.5km intervals were surveyed. A total of 57,980 km of gravity were surveyed with line spacing of three kilometre and tie line 20km interval. The ground clearance for aforementioned surveys was 60km.

Speaking at Saba Saba grounds in Dar es Salaam recently, Prof. Mruma said that Versatile Time Domain Electromagnetic Surveying (VTEM) was being implemented in Mpambaa, Sambaru, Londoni, Iramba-Sekenke and Handeni- Kilindi blocks.

"The importance of such a survey is that it allows fast and accurate delineation of mineralized targets (anomalies), and when augmented with geological and geochemical data sets are highly effective in attracting new exploration and improve effectiveness on exploration programmes," he says.

According to him, the survey helps other sectors of economy, such as ground water exploration, geotechnical exploration, hydro carbon exploration and it plays great role in environmental studies.

He insists that such data are available at the GST offices in Dodoma, and are open to all that want to conduct different studies aimed at improving their performance in the mining industry.

Professor Mruma invites all who want to use such data to improve performance at their place of duty to visit his office in Dodoma and get all possible assistance.

Concerning geological mapping, Prof. Mruma explains that GST has done extremely well because his institution earlier had the capacity to conduct only four Quarter Degree Sheets (QDS), but this time around, the institution covered a record 18 QDS.

Concerning the Data base, Prof. Mruma says the area has much more been improved because through the World Bank, the data base has better capacity to save more data related to minerals survey, mining areas, companies involved in the mining, and issuance of mining licences.

In the recent past, GST has tried its level best to improve its mineral laboratory service, says Professor Mruma. In implementing this project effectively, GST recently ordered modern equipment needed by different stakeholders in the industry.

The project is expected to make this laboratory the best in the country and generally in East Africa, says Chief Executive Professor A. Mruma. The GST laboratory is among the leading establishment in the East and Central Africa which undertakes chemical, mineralogical, petrological analyses of mineral, soil, rock and water samples.

It also provides services on environmental studies and mineral beneficiation tests. GST Laboratory has developed a Quality Assurance System (QAS), which complies with the ISO/IEC 17025-General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

Laboratory services offered by GST include sample preparation, fire assay and wet chemistry analysis. The chemical laboratory at GST performs a wide range of determinations, which include water analysis (both clean and waste) for various components, sulphates, conductivity, and salinity.

Pollutant elements (metals) such as mercury, lead, zinc, cadmium, arsenic and selenium tests can also be done at GST. According to Prof. Mruma, the mineralogy and petrology laboratory section is equipped with modern facilities for sample preparation, analyzing different minerals, rocks and identifying gemstones.

The GST laboratory offers services on preparation of thin and polished sections, micro petrographic studies and gemological studies. The laboratory offers services for rock cutting and polishing as per customer demand. The laboratory cuts and polishes specimens for dimension and decoration stones.

He says that the minerals processing laboratory incorporates facilities for technology testing in mineral separation using magnetic, electrostatic, gravitational, froth flotation and gold cyanidation techniques. Upgrading tests on industrial minerals are also conducted.

Teaching kits containing rocks and minerals are supplied to schools and other training institutions as teaching materials. According to the GST Chief Executive, petro-physical properties of rocks are essential for interpreting geophysical measurements and in assessing geochemical, mineralogy and geophysical constituents of rocks.

"GST also undertakes petrophysical measurements for determining petrophysical properties of rock and ore samples. The GST library is also the main library for geo-science information in the country," he says. It provides services to staff, geo-scientific organisations and universities as well as members of the public. Professor Mruma says that the GST library holds more than seven thousand (7,000) items.

The holdings include more than seven hundred (700) geologic maps and more than 2,800 geophysical maps. The Geological Archives render services to GST staff and external customers. External customers are normally charged minimal charges for search service.

The Archives database contains unpublished, classified, and open file reports, field notebooks, maps, old mine plans and slides. The time coverage of the reports is from 1885 to present. Copies of the material can be ordered (price list). Also increasing amount of reports is available in full-text and the material can be studied in the GST is the national custodian for drill cores.

GST houses thousands of meters of diamond drill cores obtained from drilling operations carried out by mineral exploration and mining companies and GST. The Rock Library contains varieties of rock and mineral samples from the mapped areas of the country.

These samples are well documented and are available to the investors and researchers. The museum has a variety of rocks, minerals and fossils collected from within the country and abroad. The Geological Museum has an exchange program with other Geological Museums in the world, whereby exchanges are made for geological samples and other materials including, meteorites and fossils for similar samples from other parts of the world.

Visitors from Tanzania and outside the country visit the Museum to see and learn from the rich geological collections of Tanzania and some of the products of GST. The organization wants to further improve geological mapping, mineral exploration, evaluation, processing, and research work.

It is in such a background that the World Bank has hailed GST for implementing a grand geophysical research project last year, which used airplane to survey different regions countrywide with great success.

Functions of GST include collection, processing, interpreting and achieving various geo-data and information{geological, geophysical, geochemical, mineral occurrence} essential in creating a better understanding of the mineral resources potential of the country and their prospecting criteria.

These data and information also contribute to better understanding of the geological environment of the country. "We prepare the geo-scientific map of the country(i.e. geological, geophysical, geochemica, mineral occurrence, geo-technical and environmental map) as well as disseminating the geo-data, information and maps to the stakeholders for various use", says Professor Mruma.

GST provides geo-scientific laboratory services to the stakeholders (particularly geochemical, petro graphic, petrophysical and geo-technical analysis of rocks, minerals, soils, water and plants samples), he says. Prof. Mruma adds that the institution monitor natural geo-hazards (particular earth quakes, volcano, landslides, radiation, leached materials from the bed-rock and fumaroles) and advice on their mitigation measures.

With massive endeavor GST conduct geo-tactical services and provide advice on suitable sites for placing civil structure as well as suitable earth materials for the construction, he says.

"GST monitor environmental impact of mining and the advice for mitigation measures and provide extension services to artisanal and small scale miners particularly on classification of minerals, identifying the characteristics of the ore (geometry, position, and metallurgy) and appropriate of processing the ore", says Prof. Mruma.

GST also provides technical service to large scale miners, construction industry, the government and the general public, he says. GST expects to acquire a modern geotechnical laboratory that shall be used to analyze soil and rocks. The facility has the capacity to examine the strength of soil/rock before a particular project on the same area takes off.

It can be applied during the construction of storey buildings, wells and roads. This laboratory will be of great importance at this time when some buildings and other construction works are being developed without taking into consideration the geotechnical and the environment of the particular area.


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