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On Monday evening of the 3rd April 2017 at exactly 19:40, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, whose impact reverberated across South Africa has since had its epicenter located near the Kalahari Game reserve in Botswana (location coordinates -22.470 and 25.040). A network of seismic stations installed in South Africa and several neighbouring countries enabled a speedy and seamless affirmation of the epicenter.

Whilst the Council for Geoscience (CGS) is the custodian of the South African National Seismograph Network which monitors seismic wave activities throughout the country, the CGS benefits from sharing waveform data in real-time with Botswana (Lobatse station), Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Earlier on the same day, at around 05:08am, a 4.6 magnitude earthquake occurred at the Klerksdorp gold mining region. The tremors were reportedly felt in Gauteng and the North West Provinces. At the moment, we cannot confirm whether there is a correlation between the two seismic events. This information will be made available upon further investigation. There had been no reports of neither injuries nor fatalities recorded consequent to both incidents.

The Council for Geoscience would like to assure the South African public that there is no eminent threat to the country, as a result of well-established facts about the relative stability of the African cratonic plates. We'd also like to take the country into confidence by assuring the citizenry that there is no cause for panic. A capable team of Seismologists has been dispatched to Botswana to investigate the earthquake further.

For media enquiries please contact Ms Mahlatse Mononela on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel: 012 841 1225, Mobile: 072 560 2040

Organisation of African Geological Surveys handover ceremony

On Sunday, 5 February 2017, the Organisation of African Geological Surveys (OAGS) hosted its Executive Committee handover ceremony. The OAGS consists of 37 active member countries. The Executive Committee is elected to office every three years. The outgoing Executive Committee consisted of the Presidency which was held by Namibia, the first Vice-Presidency which was held by Mozambique and the second Vice-Presidency by Niger. The elected Committee consists of the Presidency held by Nigeria and the regional Vice-Presidency which consists of:

  • Northern Region: Morocco

  • Southern Region: Botswana

  • Eastern Region: Kenya

  • Central Region: Chad

  • Western Region: Senegal

The Council for Geoscience (CGS) South Africa is the permanent Secretariat of the OAGS. The meeting was graced by the South African Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane, the Nigerian Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the Senegalese Minister of Mines and Energy, Mr Aly Ngouille Ndiaye. In addition, the ceremony was also attended by representatives of the African Union Commission, Mr Frank Dixon Mugyenyi and the head of Raw Materials at the European Commission, Mr Mattia Pellegrini.

The outgoing President of the OAGS, Ms Anna Nguno (Namibia), gave a presentation on the organisation’s performance, challenges and achievements during her tenure. This was followed by a welcoming address by the Minister of Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane. Minister Zwane highlighted the important role that geoscientific knowledge plays in economic, infrastructure and agricultural development, energy security, medical geology, geohazards and environmental stewardship. He attributed the slow pace of socio-economic development in Africa to its gross undermapping and the limited knowledge of its true potential. Furthermore, Minister Zwane applauded the establishment of the OAGS as it will compel African institutions to shift from prolonged international dependence that has dictated the pace and form of development in the continent. He concluded by asserting that the OAGS is crucial in steering towards complete international independence through advising, influencing and directing decisions of African leaders that will seek to define and captain the development of the continent.

Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development (Nigeria) reiterated the pivotal rolethat the OAGS will play in ensuringthatAfrica’s mineral endowments work optimally for the people of Africa. He went further by acknowledging that Africa could have fared better in leveraging its mineral resources to drive sustainable development, and address its pressing socio-economic challenges. He commended the establishment of the OAGS ingenerating, archiving and disseminating geoscience data as the organisation holds the keys to unlocking the entire mining value chain and industrialising Africa. Minister Fayemi asserted Nigeria’s commitment to the OAGS and the African Mining Vision (AMV) and reminded all member states of their collective responsibility to ensure that the OAGS becomes a strong contributor to achieving the desired objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) captured in the AMV. In conclusion, Minister Fayemi thanked the members for the election and assured all that Nigeria will offer purposeful direction and leadership. He also expressed his profound appreciation to Minister Zwane for putting the services of the CGS at the disposal of the secretariat of the OAGS.

Report on unusual ground fire at Sehlakwane, Sekhukhuneland

by: P.J.A. Bosch, N. Moabi and S. Makubalo

1: Introduction

A report on a possible hazardous underground fire at Sehlakwane (see attachment) was received by the Council for Geoscience on 28 July 2016.

On receiving the details of the report, P. Bosch, N. Moabi and S. Makubalo decided to investigate the occurrence. The immediate thoughts on the details provided were that the area was or is underlain by naturally occurring peat and that it is possible that this peat has dried out due to the prolonged heat and drought. It is therefore possible that the peat may have caught fire. The extension of this possible peatland is not known and it might be that it extends into occupied property within the area. It was decided to investigate the area as soon as possible to determine whether in fact it is peat burning and if it is of concern that it might extend to occupied property. The following preliminary actions were proposed: A trench or trenches should be excavated in the vicinity (with safety as a concern) of the area that is burning to establish the nature of the material that is burning.

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Highlights of the CGS participation at the PDAC 2017 Conference, Toronto Canada

The SA delegation at the PDAC

The Council for Geoscience (CGS) constituted the delegation of Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to the Prospectus and Developers Association Conference (PDAC) in Canada. The conference and trade show is held annually during the first week of March at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto, focusing on the development of junior to mid-tier mining value chain development, spanning exploration (geological information), development, financing, services, legal, and so on. The DMR led the South African delegation supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, Mintek, South African Diamond and Precious Metal Regulator, the CGS as well as the SA High Commission in Canada. The conference officially commenced on Sunday the 5th and continued till Wednesday the 8th of March 2017. The South African government safeguarded a strategic position at the trade show and maintained a strong brand presence while promoting the country as the ideal mining investment destination.

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Visit by Minister Mosebenzi Zwane to the Council for Geoscience

On Thursday, the 12th of January 2017, the Council for Geoscience (CGS) was honoured by a visit of the Minister of Mineral Resources, Honourable Mr Mosebenzi Zwane (MP), accompanied by the Director-General, Mr David Msiza, and his delegation to the head office in Pretoria. The Acting CEO of the CGS, Mr Mosa Mabuza, welcomed the ministerial delegation and Executive Management in the auditorium and called upon Mr Msiza to introduce the Minister to the CGS employees.


Acting CEO Mr Mosa Mabuza welcoming everyone in the auditorium


Director-General, Mr David Msiza introducing the Mininster

In his address to the employees, the Minister acknowledged the role that the CGS plays in the mandate of the Department of Mineral Resources to achieve its goals in transformation, economic growth and investment attraction. He emphasised the work of the CGS as key in the Research and Development initiatives of the country. One of the mandates of the CGS is mapping and he urged the scientists to keep on working hard in returning to the position of being respected in geo-mapping in South Africa and other countries. The Minister further recognised the long service employees who work tirelessly with pride and distinction to achieve the goals of the CGS.


Minister Mosebenzi Zwane addressing the CGS Staff

During his visit to the CGS, the Honourable Minister and his delegation visited the facilities of the CGS Laboratory. Mr Supi Tlowana, the Laboratory Services Manager, presented an overview of the activities of the Laboratory. The laboratory services are utilised by the scientists to evaluate samples from internal projects and by external customers. The delegation visited the following sections:

Facility: XRF, Chemistry and Mineralogy. During the visit, the Laboratory Services Manager briefly explained to the delegation the technology of instruments such as:

  • The new Wavelength Dispersive XRF spectrometer for elemental analysis in solid samples.
  • Three ICP-MS instruments for ultra-trace liquid sample analysis under clean laboratory conditions.
  • The new ICP-OES for trace liquid sample analysis.
  • The SEM for mineralogy identification.

The X-Ray Diffractometer which is an instrument used for qualitative and semi-quantitative minerals identification.

The Laboratory Services Manager also acknowledged the funding made available towards the laboratory equipment recapitalisation project as it has provided an opportunity to procure instruments and equipment with state of the art technology to improve on quality and replace obsolete instruments.



Furthermore, the Minister visited the CGS seismograph network screens which are situated on the 6th floor of the main building. Ms Michelle Grobbelaar, the microzonation project manager, explained how the screens can display ground movement, registered by the seismograph stations installed both nationally and within neighbouring countries. The monitors can also display the automatically calculated time, location and size of the tremors. She pointed out the mining regions in South Africa where the CGS has installed a denser network of monitoring stations (Klerksdorp, Carletonville and Johannesburg) to be used for further research into mine safety. She concluded by mentioning the various international networks to which the CGS contributes data (AfricaArray, CTBT and IOTWS) and the benefits of these networks to the CGS and the country.


Ms Michelle Grobbelaar, the microzonation project manager explaining the functions of the monitoring screens.

In conclusion, Minister Mosebenzi Zwane eluded to have a better appreciation of its Stated Owned Entities (SOE) with the alignment of social-economic activities and transformation.



Launch of a geological mapping programme in Malawi

The project will produce updated countrywide geological map coverage.

A consortium of three geological survey organizations - BRGM, GTK and CGS - and the State of Malawi are signing an agreement for a countrywide geological mapping and mineral assessment programme.

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The CGS partners with international stakeholders to implement the bilateral agreement and implement a project on “Drilling into Seismogenic zones of the M2.0-5.5 earthquakes in South African gold mines”.

DSC 0735On Friday 17 February 2017, the Acting CEO of the CGS, Mr Mosa Mabuza hosted Professor Hiroshi Ogasawara from Ritsumeikan University, Japan. The purpose of this meeting was in furtherance of the collaborative agreement between the Ritsumeikan University, the CGS and the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), especially within the context of the MoU recently signed between the DMR and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) at the 2017 Mining Indaba.

This collaborative agreement covers the involvement of the CGS within a deep drilling project entitled "Drilling into Seismogenic zones of the M2.0-5.5 earthquakes in South African gold mines (DSeis)” which was awarded by the ICDP and funded to an amount of 1 million USD.

This project stems from another similar project which was carried out under collaboration between the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the South African government. During the JICA project, the CGS was able to install 12 seismograph stations within the Carletonville mining region and thus assisted us in expanding our cluster networks to more mining regions in an effort to contribute to the safety in the mines.

In addition, the JICA project improved the amount of monitoring within the mines, and thus, when the big 5.5 magnitude earthquake occurred in August 2014, it was probably the most monitored large events which we have ever had. The CGS was one of the parties who could provide valuable data about this event and further enhanced our understanding. Together with in-mine seismic data and Japanese data, the combined data set offers opportunities for unprecedented detailed research in seismology to elucidate the seismogenic zone.

However, with all this data about the event there still remained a few questions unanswered. Such as, “Why did the event occur below the mining horizons?”, which is where this current ICDP project comes into play. The project involves drilling, borehole logging and core logging directly into the seismogenic zones to investigate the earthquake mechanism and associated activity and to learn more about underground water and geo-microbiology. The CGS plays a central role for core repository.

This is an international venture which involves scientists not only from Japan but also from Germany, USA, Switzerland, Israel, Australia and India.

“The CGS, as a national mandated authority on earth-sciences development, is proud to be part of this partnership with international protagonists in seismology. This ground-breaking partnership advances, not only the science, but the national developmental priorities”, articulates Mabuza.


Statement on Thyspunt Seismic Hazard Assesment - A Council for Geoscience perspective

9 December 2016

The Council for Geoscience (CGS) is the custodian of South Africa's geoscience data. According to the Geoscience Act (Act 100 of 1993), the CGS is mandated to collect and curate all geoscience data and knowledge in the South African National Geoscience Repository, promote research and the extension of knowledge in the field of geoscience and render specialized geoscientific services to enable informed and scientifically sound decisions on the use of the earth’s surface and resources within the territory of South Africa.

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South African Mineral Reporting Codes


The SAMCODES, the South African Mineral Reporting Codes, set out the minimum standards, recommendations and guidelines for the Public Reporting of mineral related issues in South Africa. They currently comprise three Codes, two Guideline documents and an affiliated National Standard:

a. SAMREC: The South African Code for the Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves
b. SAMVAL: The South African Code for the Reporting of Mineral Asset Valuation
c. SAMOG: The South African Code for the Reporting of Oil and Gas Resources
d. Commodity, or subject, specific guidelines/standards:
i. SAMESG Guideline: The South African Guideline for the Reporting of Environmental, Social and Governance parameters within the mining and oil and gas industries
ii. SAMREC Diamond Guidelines: SAMREC Guideline Document for the Reporting of Diamond Exploration Results, Diamond Resources and Diamond Reserves (and other Gemstones, where Relevant)

uth African Bureau of Standards.

The SAMCODES have wide application throughout the extractive industries. Attracting finance for exploration and mining ventures is a critical part of the resource business environment today, and there are a number of finance options available, including accessing private equity. With the increase in the number of non-listed (private) companies and individuals seeking to obtain financial assistance, it is important to appreciate that issues of public reporting are not confined to listed companies only.
Their use is not limited, however, to investors – financial and legal documents can benefit from internationally standardised principles and terminology such as Mineral Resource, Mineral Reserve, Feasibility Study and Valuation. Also, social, environmental and governance matters (Sustainability Reports) can be issued according to a consistent set of standards.
Interested and affected parties, in whatever shape or form, have a right to the highest standards of documentation and, if they wish, can request that such be prepared by “Competent Persons or Competent Valuators” in accordance with the relevant SAMCODE. In fact, all practitioners providing geoscientific reports are required to be registered with a professional and/or statutory body which requires that anything they produce to be in harmony with SAMCODES principles. Under all circumstances, if Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and/or Mineral Reserves are reported publically (as defined in the SAMREC Code of 2016), and if said report is claimed to have been compiled in accordance with any of the SAMREC, SAMVAL or SAMOG Codes, then the report and the author are subject to the minimum standards and requirements of the relevant Code as well as the complaints procedure of the SAMCODE Standards Committee (SSC).

The 2016 version of the SAMCODES was released in May and are applicable immediately (JSE-listed company documents, however, are only required to be compiled in accordance with the new codes from 1 January, 2017). The Codes can be downloaded freely at www.samcodes.co.za and further information can also be obtained regarding the SAMCODES Standards Committee (SSC), training schedules, complaints procedure as well as other relevant news items and applicable links.




Minister Zwane announces CGS’ 10 year high intensity mapping programme at the Mining Indaba 2017

The Mining Indaba commenced on the 6th of February 2017 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The Minister of Mineral Resources, His Excellency Mr Mosebenzi Zwane delivered the keynote address where he began by commemorating 150 years since the discovery of alluvial Eureka diamond in the Northern Cape. The twin discovery of diamonds and gold spurred the establishment of modern mining and our economy at large. He furthered went on to express appreciation and gratitude to the organizing committee and participants of the 35th International Geological Congress (35th IGC) for delivering such a successful and memorable Congress. The 35th IGC aided in generating interest on the prospectivity for mineral and upstream petroleum resources in South Africa through the application of new techniques in mapping. The highlight of the Minister Zwane’s address was the announcement of a high intensity, integrated and multidisciplinary 10-year mapping programme at a scale of one in fifty thousand [1:50 000] nationwide. The programme will be a great platform in rebuilding and protecting the rich and unique geological heritage of South Africa. This will also be an incredible opportunity for the various competencies within the CGS to work as a collective in addressing grand challenges in South Africa and moving forward the interest of ordinary South Africans. The management of the CGS and its competencies give full support to this revitalised mapping programme which will for the greater part be aligned to the National Development Plan Vision 2030 and Presidential 9-point plan.




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