Improving access to geoscience data a key theme at Indaba’s Nigeria Day
Geosoft was pleased to be among the speakers at Indaba 2018 held in Cape Town, South Africa in February. Presenting at the conference’s Nigeria Day, President and CEO Tim Dobush outlined how public-private collaborations can improve the accessibility and application of geoscience data.
At the same event, Nigeria announced the establishment of a mining commission to regulate the industry and manage mining leases. One of the commission’s objectives will be to provide a reliable geoscience database to attract investment, Minister of Mining and Steel Development Kayode Fayemi told the international audience.
The concept of providing pre-competitive data to encourage investment in mineral exploration is gathering steam in Africa. Botswana launched an online geoscience portal to provide geophysical, geochemical, geological data and other information for Ngamiland in the country’s northwest, while Uganda, under the auspices of the African Union Commission, announced a Public-Public Partnership project with the British Geological Survey (BGS), Geosoft, International Geoscience Services (IGS), along with the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines to utilize pre-competitive geoscience data to promote mineral development within the Busi and Buhwejy regions prospective for gold and base metals.
In Canada, where pre-competitive data is readily available through provincial and federal ministries, estimates suggest that for every dollar spent by government on data acquisition, five dollars are generated by the industry through mineral exploration.
“The data itself has no value, it’s the use of the data that generates value through the social and economic benefits that come from downstream activities like exploration,” said Geosoft’s Dobush. “These activities more than recoup the cost to collect the pre-competitive data and make it freely available.”
The emergence of collaborative private-public partnerships can help ascertain how exploration companies use available data in order to determine if government investment in geoscience data collection is justified and investigate the potential for the service to provide non-extractive economic and social benefits.
Initiatives could include developing value-added services such as mineral prospectivity maps and 3D earth models, or providing geoscience data to other ministries for applications such as transportation, land-use planning or water resources management.