The Council for Geoscience hosted its first annual conference on 4 and 5 February 2016 at the CSIR International Convention Centre. CGS Conference 2016 was officially opened by the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources, Mr Joel Raphela, who graced the occasion with his presence on behalf of the Minister, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane. In his opening address, Mr Raphela commended the CGS for hosting the conference and praised the organisation for the important work that it is undertaking.
The theme of the conference was “In pursuit of Excellence in the Geosciences”. The focus of the conference was to showcase the work undertaken by the CGS, paying particular attention to the five projects that are funded by the Department of Mineral Resources under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. These projects are the Shale Gas Research project, the Management of Derelict and Ownerless Mines, Mine Water Management, the Promotion of Investment in Exploration and Mining and the Seismic Microzonation of Johannesburg. In his welcoming note, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Simon Sikhosana, highlighted that the conference aims to serve as a platform for discussion around various scientific issues of national importance as well as to provide greater insight into the scientific work of the organisation.
The conference featured presentations from CGS scientists and researchers that highlighted the progress made on their various projects. The conference also featured presentations from four international and local experts. Professor Brandon Nuttall from the University of Kentucky presented a talk on the successes and challenges in the development of shale resources, a topic that gave an overview of the research that has been conducted in the United States as well as the industrial progress in the extraction of the shale resources. Ms Marianne Stuart from the British Geological Survey complemented the discussion around shale gas by speaking about the risk of groundwater contamination from shale gas wells and the pressures on freshwater resources.
Day two of the conference was opened by Professor Chris Wolkersdorfer with his presentation “Mine water in South Africa — present and future”. He highlighted the challenges of mine water drainage and the progress that had been made to mitigate the historic problems associated with mining in South Africa. This presentation was followed by presentations by Dr Henk Coetzee and his team who elaborated on the work that the CGS is undertaking in the area of mine water management. The last keynote speaker, Dr Declan Vogt, outlined advances in mining practices in his presentation “Surviving the change — South African mining in the future”.
The conference was well received by over 130 delegates who agreed that the CGS had taken an important step towards publicising its function and capabilities through oral and poster presentations. In her closing remarks, the Chief Operations Officer, Dr Mosidi Makgae, thanked the delegates and presenters for their attendance and for bringing their expertise to the gathering and she promised to host an even more vibrant event next year.
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The Council for Geoscience hosted a successful conference steered by the Conference Organising Committee. From left to right: Dr Thinus Cloete, Mufandilani Nemudzivhadi, Lionel Muchirahondo, Dr Mosidi Makgae and Khumo Setsoe.
Mr Mr Joel Raphela, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources.
Prof. Brandon Nuttall, University of Kentucky, USA.
Ms Marianne Stuart, British Geological Survey, UK.
Prof. Chris Wolkersdorfer, Tshwane University of Technology.
Dr Declan Vogt, Centre for Mechanised Mining Systems, University of the Witwatersrand.
Dr Mosidi Makgae, COO, Council for Geoscience.