The portal makes geoscience data freely available to encourage investment. The primary aim is to encourage mineral exploration and support better early-stage decision making. At the same time, the data resources will benefit environmental and land-use planning, water resource management and sustainable energy development such as geothermal.
The pilot project, part of the African Resource Geoscience Initiative (ARGI), was enabled through a public-private-partnership between government, industry and commercial organisations under the auspices of the African Union Commission (AUC). The AUC promotes the process of integration in the continent to enable Africa to play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems.
The Uganda pilot project is a collaborative initiative between the African Union Commission, Geosoft Inc. (a Seequent company), the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Uganda Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (UDGSM) and the Ugandan Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP). The portal is cloud-hosted by The National Information and Technology Authority - Uganda.
"Activation of Africa's vast geodata resources, through multi-stakeholder collaboration, is key to unlocking its value for downstream economic and social benefit within the respective countries. We are excited along with our project partners to explore how geoscience data can enable this," said June McAlarey of Seequent.
Patrick Bell, information systems team leader at BGS, added: "This is a great opportunity to test a model whereby we integrate resources data with environmental data in a developing area. Having such a wide spectrum of geoscience data available will provide an opportunity to examine how its usage can support broader applications including environmental, infrastructure, and water management."
The portal will focus on Jinja within the greenstone belt to the east of Kampala, prospective for gold, base metals, phosphates, rare earth elements and vermiculite; and Mbarara southwest of Kampala which has the potential for gold and base metals including copper, lead, nickel and zinc.
The Uganda Geoscience Data Portal has a powerful user-friendly interface for delivering multi-disciplinary data and documents stored within multiple systems. Stakeholders can define their area of interest to search for data, interrogate, preview and download data in commercial or open standard formats via a shareable link. The data can easily be integrated into exploration company prospectivity analysis, exploration software packages and other decision support packages used by potential investors.
Zachary Baguma, the commissioner geology at UDGSM, said: "This project is in tandem with our investment promotion efforts. We recently launched a campaign of country-wide exploration and data collection. This will be one of the means of exposing our data globally and attracting direct foreign investment."
Catherine Niwamanya Wabomba CEO at UCMP, concluded: "Promotion and fostering investment into Uganda's mineral sector is our flagship as a Chamber. This three-year project will fill one of the biggest gaps we are currently faced with; availability of data. We are excited to be part of a partnership to showcase and make available data that would guide potential investors into Uganda's mineral sector."
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