Launch of geophysics aircraft in Saudi Arabia survey project

As part of the acquisition of detailed geological data of the Arabian Shield, for which IGS is the Technical Partner of the Saudi Geological Survey for the duration of this six year project, the geophysics acquisition project has begun. The aerial geophysical survey work will include a magnetic and radiometric geophysical survey of the entire Arabian Shield in Saudi Arabia.

See Saudi Arabia launches first geological survey aircraft (

Contract with Saudi Arabia Geological Survey

IGS has been awarded a short term contract to assist the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) under the project title of ‘Completion of the consulting study for the establishment and development of the National Geological Database (NGD)’.

The project consists of two parts. The first is the completion of a benchmark study which makes a comparison between the current SGS NGD system and similar systems in other international geological surveys. The second part consists of defining the optimum data management solution for SGS in terms of the NGD, as well as transformation of the current system and implementation of a new system. The Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) is a subcontractor to IGS for the purposes of this project which should be completed within the next two months.

The project forms a natural link with a much larger upcoming project in Saudi Arabia which involves the acquisition of detailed geological data of the Arabian Shield. An IGS and GTK consortium has been awarded the contract to act as the Technical Partner of the SGS for the duration of this six year project. The establishment of a comprehensive geological database is one of the pillars of the project. Any enquiries regarding both projects can be directed to Frik Hartzer at IGS.

Appointment of Professor Garth Earls as Executive Chairman of IGS

Garth Earls was appointed to the IGS Board as Executive Chairman of IGS on the 7th January 2021. He brings a wealth of experience from the private and public sectors holding many technical, managerial and leadership roles.  He joins IGS at an important time as we emerge from the challenges of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic with the prospect of large projects starting in 2021.

IGS wishes to thank Mark Parker who stepped down as Chairman and now holds the position as a Director on the Board. Mark was appointed as Chairman of IGS in January 2017 and since then has been critically important in guiding the company, providing excellent advice and input to the Board and management. He was particularly active in assisting IGS in contract negotiations with the Saudi Geological Survey and the award of the Technical Partner project to the IGS-led consortium. IGS looks forward to his continued input on the Board.  

The Regional Geological Survey Program – a foundation for a new Saudi mining sector

Peter Zawada, Managing Director of IGS, and Philipp Schmidt-Thomé of GTK, recently took part in a Mines and Money 5@5 Special Edition webinar sponsored by the Saudi Geological Survey. The webinar took place on Thursday 29th October and featured a discussion involving H.E. Khalid Saleh Al-Mudaifer – Vice Minister for Mining Affairs of the Ministry of Industry & Mineral Resources and those organizations that will be leading on parts of the Regional Geological Survey Program for Saudi Arabia.

Peter and Philipp’s presentation of the Technical Partner role in the RGP program starts from 32.50.

IGS is an International Partner of the recently launched Regional Geological Survey Program for Saudi Arabia

On Sunday 18th October 2020, the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) launched its new Regional Geological Survey Program (RGP) in collaboration with several international partners including IGS (International Geoscience Services) Ltd.

In a virtual signing ceremony held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, headed by Bandar Al-Khorayef, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of SGS, one contract and three contract awarding documents were signed by the IGS-GTK consortium, Sander Geophysics Arabia Ltd, Xcalibur Airborne Geophysics and the China Geological Survey. The IGS-GTK consortium signed the contract awarding document, to provide technical assistance, quality control and supervision of the survey programs. The event signalled the start of the ambitious RGP, which will survey 600,000 km2 of the potentially mineral-rich Arabian Shield in western Saudi Arabia.

The IGS-GTK consortium was represented at the ceremony by Mark Parker, Chairman of the IGS Board who said:

The IGS-GTK consortium is pleased and proud to have been awarded the important technical oversight contract, which is a key element in one of the most important geoscience and exploration initiatives ever.  We greatly look forward to working closely with SGS and other agencies in ensuring that the data from this programme are of the highest possible quality, as befits such an important project.

We whole-heartedly support the primary objective of the Arabian Shield Geoscience Data Acquisition Program to attract investment into the mining sector, and we believe that the data will also find important application in many other activities such as soil science, geohazard assessment and environmental geology.  

We are sure that SGS has made the right decision in choosing our group for this vital function – with our origins in two of the world’s oldest and best geological surveys, coupled with one of the world’s best geophysical consultants as a subcontractor and Saudi Arabia’s leading geoscience firm as our partner on the ground, we are confident that we will carry out our responsibilities effectively.

I would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to SGS and the team under the leadership of Dr Wadee Kashghari, whose passion and commitment as Head of the RGP program has inspired us all.

Our teams are excited by Saudi Arabia’s geology, natural and human history and culture. Both IGS and GTK have been working in Saudi Arabia for several years – some of our colleagues even for decades. These earlier projects have laid a solid foundation for further close cooperation with SGS, building up mutual trust with our Saudi colleagues and developing a good understanding of how we can support the Kingdom in the successful completion of the RGP project.

Once again, on behalf of our consortium, I am pleased and excited that we were awarded the role of Technical Partner and look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship with SGS.

Links to media reports are provided below.
Saudi Press Agency report
Global Mining Review

MAGTAP Project: Training of Mozambiquan Geologists

MAGTAP Project: Training of Mozambiquan Geologists

The 2019 field season of the geological mapping project in the Nampula Province in northern Mozambique has been completed. During three field campaigns between early July and mid-November detailed outcrop descriptions, structural measurements and samples were collected at more than 3,000 localities spread over ten 1 : 50,000 map sheets.

Parallel to the geological field work, the project also serves as an opportunity to provide INAMI (Instituto Nacional de Minas de Moçambique) geologists with on-site training in digital geological mapping techniques using digital devices and software. Additionally, the INAMI geologists were also trained in the processing and application of the collected field data. As feedback for this training we received the following comments in response to a questionnaire that was posed to the trainees at the end of the first field season:

Regarding geological on-site training…

My geological knowledge has improved a lot and working geographic programs used for data processing are new and I’ve had good training and I’m happy about it. There was a lot of patience on the side of the consultants to train us on these programs which facilitated my learning and work.

My skills have improved a lot and I am grateful. Specially handle data sets and having the opportunity to work with digital mapping was very important to me.…

Regarding the integration of colleagues to due rotational system…

The communication was very good with the new colleagues. We easily manged to integrate them to our “field camp family”.

The integration of colleagues from the other partners (BRGM, GONDWANA, PGW) was very good.

Certainly, these changes created some different dynamics and effected the harmony of work because, as we all know, despite the common goals, each geologist has his particularities regarding field work and methodologies

It was very good, and I pretty much enjoyed being able to meet and work with different people from different countries.

Identifying challenges in terms of field work…

The biggest challenge is field life itself, sleeping in a tent and facing some plants like monkey beans specially in the first two campaigns doesn’t just make life easier.

Honestly, the biggest challenge for me was to get along to get along with the English language. For the rainy season, I have already registered at the evening school, English lessons.

General comments…

The difference is that in this project there was rotation of the team members during field work, which enabled to get to know different work technique and strategies. Further, all team members were free to give their opinion and to participate in the discussions for the delimitation of geological units. Generally, the project is well organised, and the implementation is good.

This project comes up with more advanced technologies in data processing and availability. A big advantage are the recent geophysical data to target mapping areas of special interest. Another big plus are previously digitised outcrops using satellite imagery, especially in dense vegetation this was a perfect help. Other projects did not have this multitude of auxiliary material. The time until the beginning of the 2020 field season will be used to evaluate the collected geological field data and to use it in context with initial analysis results for the re-interpretation of the geological maps.

IGS staff member stars in Nottingham theatre production

IGS staff member Paul Turner was recently due to appear as a chorus member in the new amateur theatre production of Feargus the Musical, a show based on the life of 19th century radical Nottingham politician Feargus O’Connor. However, Paul was thrust into the main role of Feargus when the original actor fell ill only days before the production was due on stage. Paul is pictured centre stage in the top hat.

The musical was written by local Nottingham historian and musician Brian Lund and featured a 25 strong cast with 19 new songs. Any profits from the show will be going to two local charities.

Mozambique MAGTAP project – second field campaign highlights

The second field campaign lasted from 26th August to 4th October 2019 and covered map sheets 393 Mutuali, 394 Malema, 433 Nintulo and 434 Inago – the most western sheets. Preliminary geological maps for the area have been ground truthed by the nine geologists involved who come from six organisations.

Over 1400 new waypoints have been added to the field database, with 349 on Mutuali, 419 on Malema, 335 on Nintulo and 346 on Inago. These will be added to the 290 waypoints inherited from earlier projects. 

A substantial number of samples are stored in Nampula at the Direcção Provincial dos Recursos Minerais e Energia (DIPREME) awaiting transport to laboratories in South Africa and Europe.

IGS Providing Technical Support to the Saudi Geological Survey

IGS has been assisting the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) in compiling and reviewing a range of documentation associated with the Kingdom’s ambitious program to map the Arabian Shield. This program will generate high-resolution datasets for geology, geophysics and geochemistry. Along with the development of a National Core Library and a National Geo Data Centre the program forms part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

IGS is honoured to be part of this program, which represents one of the largest single programs of geo-scientific data collection being considered.