Cape Town has played host this week ((29 Aug-2 Sep) to more than 4 000 delegates from 120 countries attending the 35th International Geological Congress (35th IGC), a prestigious event which is held every four years and which was last held in Brisbane, Australia. This is only the second time that South Africa has hosted the event, which was last held in this country in 1929.

Geo CongressMinister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane delivers the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 35th IGC at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town.

Welcoming delegates to the Congress, Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane said it was fitting that the geological community has returned to the African continent. He reminded delegates that the 1929 IGC conference – held in Pretoria – had catalysed advancement of the profession resulting in a significant improvement and better understanding of the geology of both South Africa and the wider region.

He pointed out that Africa had not lived up to its geological potential. As he said, “It is both untenable and unjustifiable to sustain a structurally flawed economic model that places the African continent at the bottom quartile of development, notwithstanding its natural resources endowment that spans land, minerals, upstream petroleum and others.”

He noted that Africa’s geoscience base lagged significantly behind other continents. “On average, expenditure in generation of geo-scientific knowledge is US$65 per square kilometre in developed jurisdictions. However, Africa’s expenditure remains below US$5 per square kilometre and declining.” The situation was, however, starting to be rectified, he said, with the African heads of state having adopted an ‘African Mining Vision’ which had already seen implementation structures being established.

According to Professor Richard Viljoen, Co-President with Dr Jeannette McGill (one of the Global 100 Women in Mining for 2016) of the 35th IGC, bridging distances between African geoscientists is a key goal of the IGC. “This conference is not for South Africa alone but all of Africa,” he said, adding that the goal had been to attract as many African delegates as possible to the event.

Modern Mining will be covering the Congress in more detail in its September issue.



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