Tanzania to use drones for mineral exploration

We translated this breaking story from Swahili, and the software returned with text that identified a drone as a bee plane.

Which gave us a smile of course

Because, for a drone, it is a literal fit.

But this is a really good development for the Institute of Geology and Mineral Research of Tanzania (GST), which has announced that it will soon be deploying the bee planes for mineral exploration in parts of the country.

In this, the institute will be partnering with local drone services start-up Tukutech, Zambia’s Zanifi Enterprise, and Radai OY from Finland to launch survey drone operations for rock and minerals research experiments in the Mirerani area.

Nestled in Simanjro district in the Manyara region in Northern Tanzania, Mirerani is the only place in the world where the tanzanite gems are mined.

And the authorities in the country think there is more where the jewels come from; hence the deployments of drone technology, with its high-resolution data collection payloads to find those gems.

“Leveraging cutting-edge Drone technology and High-resolution Airborne Geophysical Survey techniques, GST aims to revolutionise mineral exploration efforts in Tanzania, aligning with the ambitious goals of Vision 2030,” the institute said.

The information came out this past weekend, during a Parliament Standing Committee meeting on Energy and Minerals in Dodoma, where the minerals minister Anthony Mavunde said the government had a vision where most parts of Tanzania would have undergone a thorough search for mineral deposits by the year 2030.

Naturally named the Vision 2030 Agenda, the project will run under the theme Mines are Life and Wealth, and has the ambitious target of exploring half the country for mineral deposits in the coming six years.

So far, only sixteen percent has been covered.

The minister canvassed for more resources for the GST on this intensive quest of exploration, and in turn, the institute hopes roping in the drones will help meet these lofty targets.

“GST is the heart of the Mineral Sector, the presence of accurate geological information about rocks and minerals is what has carried the concept of wealth in Tanzania,” said Mavunde.

“Therefore; I request the delegates of this Committee to help GST be enabled for the sake of development of our nation.”

The first phase of the rock and minerals research trials reportedly took place last year in Dodoma, Shinyanga and Geita provinces.

Mirerani is set to follow, alongside the provinces of Lindi and Mtwara.

“It is a great honour for us to partner with the GST in conducting experimental research of mineral presence indicators in the Mererani area. We are ready for further cooperation to achieve the vision of 2030,” Tukutech said in a statement.

Acting Director National Bureau of Mineral Resources Hafsa Maulid said the GST was planning to fully implement the Vision 2030 project and cooperate with other research institutions to create a database of accurate geological information for the development of the nation.

Radai Oy, meanwhile, was happy to work with its local partners in ensuring that the bee planes do the job as required. “Congratulations to our partners Tukutech and Zanifi for successfully showcasing the benefits of drone technology in mineral exploration,” the company said.

“Radai Oy is glad to contribute with its expertise and technologies to the Tanzanian geophysical research and to the Vision 2030 agenda Minerals are Life and Wealth developed by the GST and supported by The Ministry of Minerals of Tanzania.”


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