The SYSMIN project has developed a Geological and Mining Information System for the Republic of Niger (2010). © BRGM - Pierre Le Bars

PanAfGeo, a training programme on an unprecedented scale for African geologists

A 3-year Pan-African cooperation programme between European and African geological survey organisations, piloted by the BRGM, is to provide training for some 1,200 geologists from 54 African countries.

Improving governance of the mining sector” was the stated aim of the African Heads of State and Governments who adopted a strategic document, “The Africa Mining Vision”, in 2009. For a continent whose mineral potential is among the richest in the world, this is a crucial issue that can only be addressed by improving knowledge on its geological resources, building scientific and technical capacities and implementing legal and administrative tools and methods designed to ensure that the sector is sustainably managed to drive development.

Meanwhile, the European Union, in view of its concern for the security of its raw material supplies and for greater efficiency and eco-responsibility in their use, has decided to strengthen its cooperation with Africa in the area of access to mineral resources and to ensure their sustainable management, a position it has reasserted in the roadmap for the “Joint Africa-EU Strategy 2014- 2017”. PanAfGeo is one illustration of the approach.

Investigating the geological structure of the Mayombe Range during a field course in the Republic of Congo. © BRGM - Nicolas Charles

Investigating the geological structure of the Mayombe Range during a field course in the Republic of Congo. © BRGM - Nicolas Charles

High-level training

“PanAfGeo”, explains Nicolas Charles, the deputy project manager with the BRGM, “is an 11 M€ programme mainly co-funded by the European Union through a grant to a consortium of 12 European geological survey organisations coordinated by the BRGM, with technical support from Poland (PGI) and Italy (ISPRA). It is the fruit of studies conducted jointly by EuroGeoSurveys, the umbrella organisation for Europe's geological surveys, and OAGS, its African counterpart.”

Over 3 years (2016-2018), PanAfGeo will provide training for about 1200 geoscientists through some fifty courses, which will be organised in different parts of Africa to ensure the right balance in terms of geography and languages.

“These courses, which include both formal teaching and field studies lasting a few days to a few weeks, are designed to give the trainees access to high-level knowledge”, explains N. Charles. “Candidates will be pre-selected by the OAGS, through a call for interest.” Eight thematic course modules have been defined* and will be run jointly by one a European consortium member with an African co-leader.

“This highly ambitious project enshrines the BRGM’s longstanding involvement with the African continent”, says N. Charles. “It will benefit from the outstanding experience and knowledge acquired during previous strategic and network-building programmes, such as SIG Afrique and AEGOS and, of course, the other programmes already under way.”

*Geological mapping, mineral resources and mine inventories, smallscale mining, the mining environment, natural risks, the geological heritage, geoscientific data management, communication and data dissemination.


See the conference "PanAfGeo: an unprecedented pan-African training programme" by Jean-Claude Guillaneau on March 31st 2017

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