A little patience goes a long way: overcoming the challenge of the Kalahari
The huge Kalahari Desert covers nearly 70% of Botswana and, though the ground beneath may potentially be rich with base and precious metals, the sand cover imposing the area has made proving so much more difficult.
Indeed, the well-known and daunting ‘Kalahari sand cover’ has foiled many who’ve tried to explore the region in the past.
For example, back in the 1970s and 1980s, an exploration team funded by the Canadian government looked to investigate the same Kalahari Suture Zone (known as ‘the KSZ’) that we’re now exploring.
At the time, limits in technology meant that the Canadian team were soon forced to give up and move on, leaving the KSZ still largely unexplored, hidden beneath the Kalahari sand cover.
However, one of our founders Hillary Gumbo felt the area still had potential. They understood that, if they had the right technology, then proving so would be a whole lot easier.
It’s one of the reasons that, as well as aligning ourselves so closely with Botswana itself, we’re also putting technology at the heart of everything we do.
In fact, by embracing modern mining exploration technology and experimenting with the latest breakthroughs, we hope to put ourselves at the forefront of metal discoveries in the country.
Three key technologies we’ve embraced to help unlock Botswana’s hidden wealth
I believe very strongly that our adoption of modern technology is one of the smartest edges we have over the competition.
It’s been game-changing, frankly. And it’s exciting to see the new ideas our partners develop and figure out ways in which we can use their tech to evidence further the potential present in areas that might have otherwise been overlooked.
The three specific tech breakthroughs I think have been most transformative for our fortunes in the Kalahari are TDEM surveys, AMT surveys, and improvements in the modelling software we’re now able to draw on:
- TDEM stands for Time-Domain Electromagnetic. It refers to a method of identifying what’s below the surface by essentially firing an electrical current into the ground and monitoring the electrical feedback that’s generated. You can quickly build up a good picture of which metals might be present based on the feedback recorded by the receivers on the surface.
- AMT stands for Audio-Frequency Magnetotellurics. Rather than using electric currents, AMT surveys map naturally-occurring energy sources in the ground, such as magnetic fields and the earth’s own electric field. These surveys are crucial in covered regions like Botswana because of the depth the survey can reach, mapping territory as far down as 2km below the surface.
- And of course, modelling software of varying capabilities has been available for decades, but in working with our various technology partners, we’re always keen to deploy the very latest methods. One key breakthrough in recent years has been the use of what’s known as ‘inversion software’, which uses seismic readings, together with other data, to physically map out the structure of the earth below ground.
As you can imagine, by combining these different technologies, it’s much easier to build up a picture of what’s in the ground beneath the Kalahari sand cover.
Where such detail and accuracy would have been impossible in the past, today companies like ours—who embrace the tech and use it drive their ambitions—are able to gather a much clearer picture of what’s going on during exploration.
Not only does it create more transparency around what’s going on beneath the surface, but it also helps us to be more transparent with investors too, which is something we pride ourselves on.
Always on the lookout for new ways to reduce risk and increase opportunity
Of course, when it comes to exploring, a company’s success relies largely on making a discovery.
But, as we all know, exploration is necessarily a speculative venture, and not all projects can come good.
The key, then, is to minimize the risk of embarking on projects that don’t lead to discovery.
This is why it’s so fundamental to embrace modern advancements in technology such as TDEM surveys and AMT surveys alongside the various developments being made in below surface modelling.
You see, by building more accurate imaging of what’s going on in the ground before needing to incur the massive costs that come with drilling, we’re able to expand our scope, cover more projects and bring greater opportunity to potential investors.
It’s a huge positive.
And it’s why we’re excited to continue to explore the next advancements in exploration technology too.
As the industry develops, so do we, and we continue to seek out ways we can take advantage of new technologies to help us unlock even more of the potential that the great country of Botswana offers.
And I’ll be sure to keep you informed of all the latest developments.