Sponsored Student SEG Fieldtrip to Namibia
Imperial College London SEG Student Chapter field trip to Namibia September 2018
The Imperial College London SEG Chapter ran a field trip on the mineral deposits of the Damara Belt in Central and Western Namibia from September 2nd to 13th 2018. The trip visited nine ore deposits of different commodity types, mineralisation styles and development, formed over the history of the Damara orogeny. Eight students (six from Imperial and two external), five industry geologists and one academic attended the trip, with student attendance possible at a subsidised rate thanks to sponsorship, including generous support from MDSG. The trip also forged close relationships between group participants and local geologists at mine sites.
The trip commenced with a symposium at the Geological Survey of Namibia, where participants were introduced to Namibian geology and mineral deposits. Students and industry geologists presented on their work, on topics ranging from Namibian ore deposits, to exploration tools in magmatic and hydrothermal ore deposits.
Throughout the trip, each site visit provided its own unique opportunity to learn about ore deposit styles and mining operations. Transects through the pegmatite belts included visits to the Rubicon and Helikon lithium mines and the Uis tin district. The group also visited Rio Tinto’s Rössing uranium mine, the world’s largest open pit uranium mine. Time was also spent studying more unusual mineralisation styles, such as the heavy rare earth enriched carbonatite at Lofdal and the Okorusu fluorite deposit that formed through alkaline metasomatism. Despite ore geology being the main focus of the trip, visits to the copper smelter in Tsumeb and an Imerys graphite processing plant gave students an opportunity to experience mineral processing. The trip included a rest day in Etosha National Park, which for many, was the first chance to see African wildlife. The highlight of the trip was a visit to B2Gold’s Otjikoto gold mine and nature reserve. Delegates were treated to a game drive and Sundowner in the nature reserve, followed by geological presentations and a tour of the open pit and solar energy plant.