The Year of Geology 2016

International partnerships benefit everyone

When two or more geological surveys combine their expertise, they can participate in competitive bidding for even large projects. When the project is particularly large, the resources of one organisation may not be sufficient.

One example of a project of this scale is a project started in 2016 in Malawi, southern Africa, which aims to update the geological maps of the entire country and survey the country’s mineral resources. The GEMMAP (Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment of Malawi) project is funded by France, led by the French geological survey BRGM, and partnered by GTK, the Geological Survey of Finland, and CGS, the Geological Survey of South Africa.

According to area director Jean-Philippe Rançon, a lot of expertise and experience is needed in a project of this scale and length.

“The most important thing is to gather the best team possible from each special field. When working with international partners, it is possible to choose the specialists, whose competences best meet the challenges of the task. It is valuable for the entire project,” Rançon says.

The GEMMAP project continues until the end of 2020. It’s objective is to support Malawi’s financial development by improving the efficiency of the country’s mining industry and making it more versatile. The budget for the project is EUR 10.2 million.

“GTK is reliable”

Tasks are distributed according to the competence profiles of the specialists. It may take a while until cooperation becomes seamless.

“Ways of working may be different, and there are always cultural and linguistic differences. Problematic situations can be solved with direct and constructive discussion,” Rançon says.

According to Rançon, consortiums provide important experiences for future projects as well. BRGM cooperates with GTK in Malawi also in the MGGSP project, funded by the World Bank and the EU. The project’s objective is to interpret data obtained with airborne geophysical methods. The surveys are participating in a similar joint project also in Cameroon.

Rançon says that BRGM is also considering cooperation with GTK in, for example, the management of risks related to water resources and climate change in Africa, Asia, and South Africa.

“GTK is a loyal and reliable expert partner for BRGM. A common view of the partnership and on how to promote it has been found at the management level of the surveys,” Jean-Philippe Rançon states.

According to Rançon, a good partnership is beneficial also from the point of view of education, which has an important role in the Malawi project.

“It brings the customer added benefit, if they can have their own geologist trained by the best specialists in each special field,” Rançon says.