Kwazulu Natal Region
For almost a Century, since the 'one-man' Geological Survey of Anderson in 1899, there has been state-funded geological mapping and research in the KwaZulu-Natal region. This role is currently fulfilled by the Council for Geoscience which is based in a gracious Edwardian house at 139 Loop Street, Pietermaritzburg, as shown in the picture on this page.
The KwaZulu-Natal Unit provides quality, professional, geoscientific services that support priority development and growth areas in the provincial spatial growth and development framework.
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- Assessment of regional lineament patterns, fault zones and joint systems from aerial photographs
- Detailed mapping of proposed waste disposal sites and siting of monitoring boreholes
- Assessment of groundwater risk potential for infrastructure developments
- Gehydrological investigations for groundwater potential
- Investigation of infiltration rates and soil properties for low-cost housing developments
The regolith comprises unconsolidated surficial sediments which owe their origin to deep weathering of bedrock or fluvial, colluvial and aeolian transport of weathering products. Traditionally, geological mappers "look through" the variable regolith and preferentially represent the bedrock lithologies. Often when regolith is delineated its description is generalised or it is depicted as homogenous in character. This approach has many drawbacks, particularly from the point of view of mineral exploration, construction, civil engineering and development, environmental management and agriculture. Heterogeneous regolith generally has different mineralogical, textural, geochemical, geotechnical and geohydrological characteristics to the underlying geology. In many areas, however, exploitable minerals or construction materials are concentrated within the regolith.
Multiphase pedogenic weathering and landsurface sediment transport processes can effectively disperse geochemical signatures of ore bodies sought during mineral exploration. Linking geomorphological and regolith investigations to integrated exploration methodology can improve target generation exercises. Detailed soil mapping and analysis of potentially unstable regolith materials can identify substrates which will impose geotechnical constraints on construction and development. Correct handling and stockpiling of soil overburden is essential to facilitate effective rehabilitation of mining and construction sites.
It is an unfortunate fact that few organisations and geoscientists have an adequate multidisciplinary knowledge of the materials and processes associated with the regolith. The Council for Geoscience, however, has developed skills with regard to the recognition, mapping, interpretation and analysis of regolith materials through intensive research and widespread practical experience. Multidisciplinary teams are assembled specifically to provide cost effective solutions to a wide range of regolith related projects which include the following:
- Mapping and research of Cainozoic / Quaternary geology
- Description, analysis and interpretation of weathering profiles, laterites and duricrusts
- Soil profile description, classification, interpretation and soil chemical analysis
- Regolith-landform mapping and characterization in support of mineral exploration
- Geotechnical mapping, profile descriptions, sampling and analysis
- Terrain evaluation and geomorphological mapping
- Regolith sensitivity studies for EIA, town planning and construction purposes
- Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) profiling of Quaternary sediments to define stratigraphy or groundwater table
- Construction materials or industrial mineral inventories and analysis
- Environmental Management Programmes for mines and quarries
- Erosion control and environmental rehabilitation
- Groundwater prospecting, location and aquifer modelling
- Investigations in support of mineral exploration
Investigations are supported by a full range of geochemical services including AA, ICP, XRF, XRD and isotopic analyses. A comprehensive range of geophysical equipment and software is available for geohydrological investigations. Petrographic studies of rock and micromorphological description of soils are undertaken. Field investigations are backed by trenching, specialised coring and augering plant as well as CAD and GIS mapping capabilities.
G A Botha
Cenozoic and Environmental Geologist
The implementation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA), 2002 (Act No. 28 of 2002) has important consequences for the development of mines. There have been fundamental changes to the application process, public participation requirements, environmental investigations and documentation, as well as the authority review and authorization processes. The KwaZulu-Natal unit staff has many years of experience in compiling the environmental documents necessary for acceptance of a Prospecting Right, Mining Permit or Mining Right. We produce a very high standard of work required for the following;
- Mining area plans and digital orthophoto maps;
- Stakeholder consultation and public participation process;
- Scoping report;
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report;
- Specialist geological, hydrogeological, geomorphological and geotechnical investigations as part of the EIA process;
- Professional associates contribute biophysical and ecological specialist reports, and conduct heritage impact assessment;
- Noise and dust monitoring, and traffic surveys and transport assessments are also undertaken by our associates;
- Environmental Management Plans (EMP) or EM Programmes including impact mitigation and management;
- Environmental Awareness Plans;
- Rehabilitation planning;
- Calculation and review of the quantum of financial provision for rehabilitation;
- Performance assessments of EMPs;
- Environmental Due Diligence assessments.
G A Botha
Cenozoic and Environmental Geologist