Supporting sustainable natural resources extraction through the accurate reading of geological data

Keren Happuch Osekre is a proud member of Australia Awards Women’s Network, whose goal is to advance opportunities for African women. Professionally, Keren is also a voice for sustainable natural resources extraction in her position as Geologist at the Geological Survey Department in Ghana.

During 2005–2008, the Government of Ghana, with a grant from the European Union, undertook an extensive program of collecting airborne geophysical data in five selected areas. Keren’s department was charged with establishing whether the features outlined by geophysical surveys really existed on the ground.

In 2011, Keren received an Australia Awards – Africa Fellowship, funded by the Australian Government. She completed a course in mining on Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) at the University of Queensland in Australia and came back with a skill that was scarce in her department: the ability to use GIS to interpret geological data.

Upon her return from Australia, Keren joined a project team within her department charged with conducting ground follow-up of geophysical anomalies.

This team was tasked with understanding the types of rocks, their mineral composition and other contributing geological features of the five surveyed areas. As part of this team, Keren used the skills she acquired in the Fellowship to help interpret the geological data collected.

“I knew little about GIS before my training in Australia. The only thing I could do was to use GIS software to pick coordinates from maps. Now I can analyse, digitise and interpret geological maps on my own using the skills I gained. Above all, I am now a member of the GIS division and therefore work as a GIS Geologist in my department,” she explains. Currently, Keren is using the GIS platform to transfer data acquired from the field onto a map form for the easy interpretation of the data.

More importantly, Keren is using the GIS platform to communicate her findings to various stakeholders, including the national Government of Ghana, District Assemblies and prospective mining and exploration companies, and to support sustainable natural resources extraction.

“Our findings have helped the above institutions know where Ghana’s various mineral resources can be found and mined. Our findings have also helped in better targeting mining by ensuring that places mined actually contain the desired mineral, thereby enhancing environmental sustainability,” she adds.

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