The Council for Geoscience was established under the Geoscience Act (Act No. 100 of 1993), as amended in 2010. The organisation is listed as a schedule 3A public entity in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (No. 1 of 1999). The principal act mandated the Council for Geoscience to generate, curate and publish world-class geoscience knowledge products and to render geoscience-related services to the South African public and industry.
As defined in the principal act, the mandate of the Council for Geoscience includes:
a) Systematic reconnaissance and documentation of the geology of the earth’s surface and continental crust, including all offshore areas within the territorial boundaries of South Africa.
b) Compilation of all geoscience data and information, particularly geological, geophysical, geochemical and engineering-geological data in the form of maps and documents.
c) Basic geoscience research into the nature and origin of rocks, ores, minerals, formations, the history and evolution of life and the formation of the earth with a view to understanding the geological processes of the past and present and to compile and publish such research findings nationally and internationally to contribute to the understanding of the earth, its evolution and its resources.
d) Collection and curation of all geoscience data and knowledge on South Africa in the national geoscience repository. This repository houses a large and growing collection of geoscience information on all countries on the African continent.
e) Rendering of geoscience knowledge services and advice to the State to enable informed and scientifically based decisions on the use of the earth’s surface and the earth’s resources, within the territory of South Africa.
f) Management of a number of national geoscience facilities on behalf of the people of South Africa. These include the South African National Seismograph Network, the National Borehole Core Repository, the National Geoscience Heritage Collections (Geoscience Museum), and the National Geoscience Library. As part of its seismological monitoring function, the Council for Geoscience contributes to the verification of global compliance to the ban on underground, underwater and upper atmospheric nuclear explosions in terms of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), by making data available from stations located within South African territory.
g) Rendering of commercial geoscience services and products to national and international clients.