HomeInterviewsXcalibur: unlocking wealth in West Africa

Xcalibur: unlocking wealth in West Africa

South African-based ultra-high resolution geophysical surveys specialist Xcalibur Airborne Geophysics has been awarded a World Bank sponsored magnetic and radiometric mapping project for the government of Burkina Faso, states MD Simon Bosch.

“The World Bank supports active operations in several countries across Africa, including education, environment, urban and rural development, health, transportation and agriculture. This also includes sponsoring geological mapping projects.”

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 7 2018

The magnetic and radiometric mapping project will be an addition to an on-going programme in Burkina Faso called Projet de Développement du Secteur Minier (PADSEM).

This project is designed to improve mineral resource confidence in the country which the government can use to encourage investment in its mining sector.

AUTHOR: Sascha-Lee Solomons, content editor at Mining Review Africa

As with all projects Xcalibur undertakes, the magnetic and radiometric mapping project survey for Burkina Faso will make use of Xcalibur’s customised, robust, low-flying and safe Air Tractor magnetic gradiometer systems which provides maximum efficiency, endurance and top of the range ultra-high resolution geophysical data.

“Because spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratios improve dramatically when the flying height is reduced, low-level data provides significantly more detailed information for kimberlite detection, base and precious metal exploration, litho-structural and geo-hydrological mapping, and mine planning or sterilisation mapping.”

 Part of the plan

“We are currently acquiring the data and once this is completed we will process the data and deliver the final product to the client,” he notes.

In addition, he mentions that the project will run over the course of four months and upon conclusion the Burkina Faso government will conduct further analysis and then release the data to the industry.

Bosch adds that the project is currently three months from completion. It is the third airborne project sponsored by the World Bank in Burkina Faso.

Working in West Africa

Bosch notes that in order to successfully operate in West Africa it is important to consider and understand the local conditions, such as infrastructure availability, prevailing weather, local communities, local authorities and bureaucratic processes.

The mining sector in Burkina Faso is considered one of the most dynamic in West Africa and due to its performance over the last few years, the country is moving from an agricultural focus to a mining-based economy, with a wide range of mining potential spread across the country.

“The main resources in the country are gold, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphate and limestone. Traces of diamonds, bauxite, nickel and vanadium have been recorded in various geological formations. However, gold remains the most exploited ore in Burkina Faso.”

High standards

Bosch points out that Xcalibur offers a diverse range of services such as fixed and rotary-wing airborne gradient magnetic and radiometric, electromagnetic and gravity surveys. The service offering also includes value-adding data processing and interpretation conducted by a team of dedicated, highly skilled and experienced staff.

Xcalibur delivers ultra-high-resolution geophysics, flying ultra-low with surveys running between 30 m and 40 m above ground level.

“Having the ability to fly safely at such low altitudes with fixed-wing platforms is also what differentiates our offering in the market.”

“We believe that it is better to fly regional surveys at low flying heights in order to get the best possible quality profile data that can easily be upward continued to produce regional grids, while allowing subsequent fill-in work between flown lines to produce a high-resolution data set for exploration later,” he concludes.

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