7th SGA-IUGS-UNESCO-SEG- Short Course on African Metallogeny

Energy Metals for a Sustainable Society

Windhoek, Namibia, 29th November– 3rd December 2021

Beate Orberger

The international short course on Energy Metals also addressed Vanadium in 3 aspects, Vanadium in circular economy, Vanadium primary (Prof. Maria Boni, Naples University, Italy) and secondary Vanadium resources (Dr. Beate Orberger, CATURA Geoprojects, Paris, France). Primary resources amount only to about 18% of the total resources, while secondary resourced V, mainly from slag derived from steel production, present the major part.
New secondary vanadium resources are residues from TiO2 pigment production (EIT ScaVanger project) and Bayer liquors from Alumina production (EIT VALORE project). These resources will provide V-salts and V2O5 at purities required for the growing markets for vanadium flow batteries.
Both projects were presented to the international audience in Africa. Most of the geoscientists discovered these new unconventional resources.

The short course was held in a hybrid format under ideal circumstances at the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Windhoek (Namibia), starting with a warm welcome icebreaker and a Namibian traditional dancing group on Sunday 28th November.  Thanks to the local organizers for the excellent organization.


Luckily, we were able to run the entire program, both 3 days of lectures and workshops, and 2 days of fieldtrips in the region of Swakopmund.

Sixty delegates and lecturers exchanged on the critical metals for the present and future applications also evaluating on so-called “green” technologies. 10 foreign students arrived from Western and North Africa and 17 Namibian students participated for the first time.
Lecturers and delegates joined remotely from Australia, Ireland, England, Italy, Portugal, Germany, South Africa, Nigeria, and Namibia, and physically from Namibia, France, and South Africa.

Students and young scientists from Namibia networked with students from Algeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

The lecturers from industries, universities, consulting companies, government organizations and the Geological Survey, addressed a variety of aspects: The Geology and Metallogeny of Namibia, with the enormous work performed by geologists from the Namibian Geological Survey, the universities, and consultants. All metal session (U, V, Pb-Zn, Cu, REE, Li,) included aspects on circular economy, on specific Namibian ore deposits, ore deposit formation, exploration, mining, and processing at the highest level. A critical view on these metals in the current political, economic, and industrial context of Namibia, Southern Africa, and importance of these metals for the global and European processing and manufacturing industries, was debated.

Furthermore, global topics, regulations, and actions on mining in the view of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the UN and other international government bodies, to reach carbon-neutrality in 2050, were addressed. The future Namibian UNESCO-supported Geopark introduced by Dr. Gabi Schneider, was also part of the excursion program.

The Gala braai at the splendid Jurassic Park site of the Ministry of Energy and Mines closed the “lecture-days”.

Fieldtrips included highlights such as the visits to the Lepidico Mine project, led by the chief exploration geologist Simon Kahovera, the Eureka Exploration Project on a challenging REE occurrences in carbonatites (prepared by Pete Siegfried), the largest open pit Rössing Uranium mine and processing plant (led by Gabi Schneider), and textbook outcrops of famous geological sites (badlands, dolerite dykes emplaced during the opening of the Atlantic Ocean into Upper Precambrian, skarn mineralogy and contact metamorphic features), amazing landscapes and geological landmarks (Spitzkoppe, badlands..) part of the future Geopark.

This event, initially planned for 2020, postponed to December 2021, fall just in the moment, when the new COVID variant Omicron was detected. Although a few lecturers were tested positive after the short course, mostly without any symptoms, our enthusiasm, on the fruitful outcome of this course was not affected.

Thanks to our host, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Geological Survey, and our Sponsors (SGA, UNESCO, IUGS, SEG, ORANO Mining, the Namibian Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Geoscience Council of Namibia), the efficient staff and help of local students, and the organizing committee, the 7th short course provided the network or future collaborations among the students, consultants, academia, government institutions and industries.

Our SGA AFRICA WhatsApp group exchange and inform each other and plan our next events.