Examining an outcrop during a field survey in the Congo (2013). © BRGM - Olivier Bouc

Geological mapping and mineral inventories : three new programmes in Africa

Supporting economic development in Africa by updating knowledge on its geology and mineral resources is the common aim of three recent projects piloted by the BRGM in Chad, Malawi and Cameroon.


After reconstructing a document collection on geology and mineral prospecting and updating the 1:1,500,000 geological map of the country, the BRGM signed a technical assistance contract with Chad to produce an inventory of mineral resources in the eastern regions of Wadi Fira and Enedi. The aim is to identify extractable mineral ores that could, in the near future, attract investors to target sectors with potential for industrial-scale operations.

With a 20.6 M€ budget over 3.5 years, the project will involve numerous specialists from the BRGM working with their opposite numbers in Chad. It will include a study of archived materials, interpretations of satellite imagery to prepare for reconnaissance on the ground, airborne geophysical surveys and field sampling. The data thus retrieved will then be incorporated into a geology and mining information system and used to produce maps to the scale of 1:200,000. A major training component, based on mentoring, will involve the Chadian geologists in all of the project phases.

A reconnaissance mission in eastern Chad. © BRGM

A reconnaissance mission in eastern Chad. © BRGM


Another project, "Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment of Malawi" (GEMMAP), financed by France through a debt reduction and development agreement with Malawi, will assist the country in conducting a geological mapping and mineral inventory programme across its entire territory.

This 10.2 M€ project will be implemented over 4.5 years by a consortium led by the BRGM and partnered by the geological surveys of Finland (GTK) and South Africa (CGS).

In particular, the project will update the geological map coverage of the country (40 maps to the scale of 1:100,000, 10 maps to 1:250,000 and one to 1:1,000,000) and produce an inventory of its mineral potential, and will also include a survey of stream sediment geochemistry, a natural risk mapping campaign, an analysis of the small-scale mining sector and production of a database and Geographic Information System. Training for Malawian geologists, also included in the programme, will be provided through both field courses and diploma courses (Master's and PhD).

Planned geological mapping coverage under the Malawi project. © BRGM

Planned geological mapping coverage under the Malawi project. © BRGM


A geological and geochemistry mapping programme, which includes the production of a Geological and Mining Information System, has just been launched in 2016 by the BRGM in Cameroon, with funding from the World Bank and partnered by Finland's GTK and a Cameroonian company, BEIG3. This 6.8 M€ project is being undertaken as part of the PRECASEM project for capacity-building in the mining sector.

Some fifteen experts will be working for 30 months on the project, which focuses on central Cameroon. The three main project components are:

  • production of 13 geological maps to the scale of 1:200,000;
  • mineral explorations across the entire area with some 18,000 samples ot be taken;
  • creation of a Geological and Mining Information System to distribute the information gathered and promote Cameroon's mining sector.

The project also includes a training and skills transfer component which will benefit Cameroon's scientific and institutional players.

Launch meeting of the project in Yaounde, January 24th 2017. © BRGM

Launch meeting of the project in Yaounde, January 24th 2017. © BRGM

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