In 2021 IGS was appointed as the official technical partner of the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) for a major geodata acquisition project in Saudi Arabia. The project will expand on previous geological data collections for the Arabian Shield. The project forms part of the Saudi Arabian Vision 2030 to modernize the country, including the mining sector.
IGS is the Lead Party in a consortium with GTK (Finland). IGS has also contracted the Jeddah based geoscientific company Geotech Arabia, PGW geophysicists, and several other independent consultants.
The IGS role in the project includes the QA/QC of the various sub-projects, which are:
- Upgrading existing SGS legacy data sets into a National Geological Database (NGD). The NGD will then host the newly acquired geodata. Some aspects of the NGD will be implemented by GTK, with others implemented by external contractors.
- Establishment of a National Core Library (NCL), with modern borehole scanning and photographic facilities. The NCL will host legacy and future drill cores.
- An airborne magnetic and radiometric geophysical survey over the Arabian Shield, flown at a line spacing of 300 m, and a height of 60 m. Sanders and Excalibur are the appointed contractors for the survey, which is under way.
- A geochemical survey over the Arabian Shield at a density of one sample every 6 km2. Over 100,000 stream sediment samples will be collected and analyzed. The Chinese Geological Survey (CGS) won the contract for this survey and began the first phase of the project in 2022.
- 1:100,00 scale geological mapping over the Arabian Shield covering 271 map sheets. This project will probably start in 2023 and run for a maximum period of 11 years. A National Stratigraphic Committee has been established which will work closely with the mapping contractor throughout the mapping program. The project will begin with a five-year phase concentrating on the areas with well-established high economic mineral potential.
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.”