By Wahard Betha
Malawi’s Ministry of Mining says it will launch the much-awaited results of the Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment Project (GEMMAP) on February 15, 2023.
Addressing journalists in Lilongwe, Minister of Mining Albert Mbawala said the launch will involve handover of the final GEMMAP documents (deliverables) and presentation of main findings of the various GEMMAP modules.
In July 2021, GEMMAP through its Project Manager Thomas Fullgraf handed over the deliveries to the Ministry of Mining at an official function held at Geological Survey Department (GSD) headquarters in Zomba.
Mbawala said: “The launch will involve handover of the final GEMMAP documents (deliverables) and presentation of main findings of the various GEMMAP modules.
“Maps at various scales and interpretation reports will also be presented. The Project was conceived with support from the French Government to conduct a systematic and more detailed geological mapping and mineral assessment for the country following the Country-wide High Resolution Airborne Geophysical Survey known as ‘Kauniuni’.”
“The GEMMAP results will therefore be used by investors and any stakeholders in the mining sector. This will also assist Government to market its mineral potential with more confidence.”
The project’s deliverables which GEMMAP handed over to Government and are expected to be launched next month include geohazard, geological, structural, mineral potential and mineral occurrence maps, a new documentation centre, and a refurbished laboratory with modern rock/mineral processing and analytical equipment.
The 10.2-million Euros project that has been implemented with debt relief financing from the French Government failed to meet projected timeframe due to Covid-19 travel restrictions which hindered mobilization of foreign experts and equipment.
GEMMAP indexed and confirmed numerous occurrences of minerals in the country including sulphides, copper, graphite, titanium, vermiculite and rare earth elements, including high potential for the niobium used in new technologies.
In the laboratory that it has refurbished at the GSD headquarters, GEMMAP installed new equipment including X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) instruments.
GEMMAP also trained GSD personnel to operate the laboratory equipment in its training component for professionals working for the Ministry of Mining.
The training programme also involved mentoring of Ministry of Mining professionals by consortium geologists, through work and diploma courses (Master of Science degrees and continuing training) with potential continued development plans including establishing long-term cooperation between local academics (Chancellor College), the Ministry of Mining and foreign universities (France, Germany and South Africa).
GEMMAP was launched in June 2016 and implemented over 5.5 years by a consortium led by the BRGM partnered by GTK and the CGS (the geological survey organizations of Finland and South Africa).
As well as updating the geological map coverage of Malawi (40 maps at the scale of 1:100 000, 10 maps at 1:250 000 and one map at 1:1 000 000) and the inventory of its mining potential, the programme included a geochemical survey of stream sediments, an analysis of the small-scale and artisanal mining sector, a natural risk (geohazards) mapping component, the construction of a documentation centre, upgrade of the GSD laboratory and training of Ministry of Mining staff.