Southern African Geophysical Association conference to address critical materials supply

16th April 2024

The age of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has presented specific challenges to the extractives community as they seek to maintain the supply of critical material inputs to realise and power new technologies. As such, this year’s Southern African Ge ophysical Association’s 18th Biennial Conference & Exhibition (#18SAGA2024), will gather under the theme of collaborative geoscience for critical supply.

The event will take place from 1 to 4 October 2024, in Windhoek, Namibia, and will include delegations from the Society of Economic Geologists (SEG) whose annual international conference is taking place the week before. This collaboration will allow for closer engagement between the disciplines of economic geology and geophysics, enabling new research and development initiatives to take root.

Conference chairperson, Reece van Buren, emphasised that now more than ever, the geophysical community needs to work together with closely associated disciplines to ensure critical materials required to realise and power the immense scale of contemporary and new technologies remain available. “Speed and sustainability in how we discover and supply these materials is critical to ensuring the maximal impact of the 4IR technologies that our global communities require to prevent catastrophic tipping points.”

Critical materials supply directly impacts sustainable living and SAGA 2024 will showcase contemporary, innovative solutions to meet growing discovery and extraction demand. Awareness of these needs to be achieved by change makers within pivotal industry roles.

Namibia is a fitting host for SAGA 2024 since it is home to some of the world’s richest sources of critical materials. “As we convene in one of the top 10 most arid countries globally, we expand our focus on the efforts to manage and preserve precious water resources, since they are critical not only to sustaining life, but also to enable most extractives’ industrial processes,” said van Buren.

Namibia has a strong record of success in the application of remote sensing and geophysical technologies to explore for subsurface mineral and energy resources, and utilization of these sustainable methodologies in exploring for and managing groundwater.

These topics will form part of the body of knowledge on show in Windhoek, where delegates will have prime opportunities to bear witness to the mass of research being undertaken across aspects of exploration, energy, mining and engineering geophysics. The event will provide deep engagement opportunities covering topical issues and promote discussions over above- and below-ground industrial activities globally, initiating and fostering geoscientific collaboration for years to come.

Apart from the expected commercial, technical and social conferencing, SAGA 2024 will provide a platform for delegates to schedule direct business to business engagements, fast -tracking the establishment and growth of critical networks. There will also be ample opportunity to explore Namibia’s treasure-trove of geological heritage sites during numerous exotic excursions around the country and region. Among the highlights are trips to the Skeleton Coast and Sperrgebiet, which will be led by international subject matter experts. © Southern African Geophysical Association (SAGA) Page 2 of 2 PRESS RELEASE

An integral component of the event is the exhibition and trade show which boasts comprehensive representation from the global geophysical community. Delegates will have first-hand access to view cutting edge technology demonstrations, meet with original equipment manufacturers and agencies, expert consultancies and governments, hosted within the tailormade exhibition hall at the Windhoek International Convention Centre.

There will also be workshops focusing on themes from seismic to electromagnetic and potential field methods, with software suppliers showcasing their latest functionalities.

“There’s no better time to collaborate than now,” said van Buren. “The world is standing at the precipice of a new dawn in which society as we know it will not survive without critical minerals and materials. Geophysicists are in the significant position of being able to pave the way towards sustainable supply and extraction. SAGA conferences provide biennial forums for industry cross-cutting engagements from tertiary education and research institutions to materials processing and the various activities in between. The formation of these relationships lead directly to progress in our collective capability to discover and deliver upon the global industrial demand for critical materials.”