A New Zealand-based company specialising in geoscience analysis, modelling, and collaborative technologies company has launched the Uganda Geoscience Data Portal which primarily aims to encourage mineral exploration and support better early stage decision making in the country.
The company, Seequent, is supported by an international consortium that from a broader perspective is looking to improve the geoscience understanding of the Jinja and Mbarara regions in Uganda to stimulate sustainable socio-economic investment.
The portal will focus on Jinja within the greenstone belt to the east of Kampala, prospective for gold, base metals, phosphates, rare earth elements and vermiculite; and Mbarara southwest of Kampala which has the potential for gold and base metals including copper, lead, nickel and zinc.
The portal makes geoscience data freely available to encourage investment. At the same time, the data resources will benefit environmental and land-use planning, water resource management and sustainable energy development such as geothermal.
The pilot project, part of the African Resource Geoscience Initiative (ARGI), was enabled through a public-private-partnership between government, industry and commercial organisations under the auspices of the African Union Commission (AUC).
The AUC promotes the process of integration on the continent to enable Africa to play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems.
The Uganda pilot project is a collaborative initiative between the African Union Commission, Geosoft Inc. (a Seequent company), the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Uganda Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (UDGSM) and the Ugandan Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP).
The portal is cloud-hosted by The National Information and Technology Authority – Uganda (NITA-U).
“Activation of Africa’s vast geodata resources, through multi-stakeholder collaboration, is key to unlocking its value for downstream economic and social benefit within the respective countries. We are excited along with our project partners to explore how geoscience data can enable this,” says June McAlarey from Seequent.
Patrick Bell, Information Systems Team Leader at BGS says: “This is a great opportunity to test a model whereby we integrate resources data with environmental data in a developing area. Having such a wide spectrum of geoscience data available will provide an opportunity to examine how its usage can support broader applications including environmental, infrastructure, and water management.”
The Uganda Geoscience Data Portal has a powerful user-friendly interface for delivering multi-disciplinary data and documents stored within multiple systems. Stakeholders can define their area of interest to search for data, interrogate, preview and download data in commercial or open standard formats via a shareable link.
The data can easily be integrated into exploration company prospectivity analysis, exploration software packages and other decision support packages used by potential investors.
Zachary Baguma, the Commissioner Geology at UDGSM, says: “This project is in tandem with our investment promotion efforts. We recently launched a campaign of country-wide exploration and data collection. This will be one of the means of exposing our data globally and attracting direct foreign investment.”
The pilot project is guided by the aspirations and principles of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and Agenda 2063, which recognises geodata as an imperative for future development of Africa’s extractives, energy, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, infrastructure, and tourism sectors.
Support for the Ugandan portal project was also provided by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), which provided advisory services and research and development funding to Geosoft Inc., which is based in Toronto.
The Uganda Geoscience Portal was formally launched at the 8th annual Mineral Wealth Conference (MWC), organized by UCMP in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), in Kampala, Uganda, on 2 and 3 October 2019.