INTERVIEW decisions for authorities, we can only come to you and say Minister, MEC, Your Worship, we have done this work and here is what it says and these are the options that you have. You can’t just sit on your hands while the community is in danger. The borehole cores of the Karoo Supergroup in the Karoo Deep Drilling site in Beaufort West. teams are making major discoveries of fossils and there are fantastic stories to tell. We will take those stories to the authorities in the Western Cape so that they can think about how to make it part of the tourism package. We are also looking at the mineral potential in the Western Cape. Can the council play a role in climate change mitigation? One of the things that almost made my heart stop was when Cape Town was heading for “Day Zero” of water supply. That would have been a national disaster. With these things you have to work on them well in advance, outside of the political cloud. We scientists don’t like that space. How does geoscience and Day Zero come together? We are looking at characterising the aquifers quietly and understanding them and their potential. Then we can take information to the water authorities and the infrastructure authorities. To municipal and provincial authorities we can say, this is how you can complement your infrastructure to make it better. To give people the information they need to make policy? To make developmental decisions. Our job is to use the science as a basis for informed policy and human development choices. However, we don’t make What is land susceptibility mapping? If we do a study of a stretch of land today, not when it rains, we can give a report to authorities telling them either not to develop in a particular place, or if they do, then to make sure to reinforce the infrastructure in that area. We are also doing work on tsunami early-warning detection in support of the Koeberg power station. We want to characterise any faults and understand them properly. There is a huge fault structure that goes over Table Mountain. It can lie dormant for 100 years, which is a short time in geological terms, and a fault stretches a long way. If something happens at a distance it might reactivate the fault and when it does then our study comes into play. The affected municipality will know the risks upfront. How many staff does CGS have in its Bellville office? We have a staff of 35. The Council for Geoscience runs a variety of programmes such as testing for air quality and asbestos residue in soils. WESTERN CAPE BUSINESS 2021 32
What are their main fields of work? They work in a wide variety of disciplines, including geoscience mapping (onshore and offshore), palaeontology, geophysics, remote sensing, economic geology, marine geoscience and engineering geology. What potential for mineral discoveries are being made in the province? We see potential in industrial minerals, some precious and critical minerals and various energy-linked minerals. These are still being characterised and evaluated. The Western Cape was the site of the launch of the RV Nkosi in 2021. The Council for Geoscience’s vessel is named after a renowned mineralseparation technician who passed away in 2019. The project to map the oceans is in support of the national Blue Economy programme. How does the brief of the CGS fit into national priorities? The Council for Geoscience undertakes activities of national strategic importance that support government programmes such as the NDP 2030 (Economy and Employment, Economic Infrastructure, Inclusive Rural Economy focus areas), the New Growth Path and the Integrated Resource Plan, which seek to eradicate poverty, to promote the creation of employment, energy security, diversification of the economy, including the promotion of the green economy and to promote growth by identifying six priority sectors focussed on infrastructure and rebuilding the productive sectors of the economy, including mining. ■ Pleistocene cliffs along False Bay.