The participation of the company GET s.r.o. in Czech international development cooperation projects

Jaromír Tvrdý*, Tomáš Pechar, Ladislav Opekar and Petr Hanzlík

*GET s.r.o., Perucká 2540/11a, CZ-12000 Prague, Czech Republic, get@get.cz


Abstract

This article reports on the prospecting results and on the evaluation of the industrial mineral sources that comprise the Programme of Development Cooperation financed by the Czech government. Individual projects have been implemented in Vietnam (silica sand, limestone and feldspar for the glass industry), in Mali (dimension and crushed stone, cement raw materials, sand and gravel), in Jamaica (high-grade limestone, cement raw materials, ceramic materials and construction materials), in Belize (ceramic clay, bentonite and feldspar), in Guyana (kaolin, dimension and crushed stone) and in Afghanistan (gypsum, marble, cement raw materials, coal). The work was carried out in cooperation with the local geologists and usually it also included specialised training and workshops. Projects of this type undoubtedly are important and should be supported in the future.


The firm GET s.r.o.[1] was founded in 1993 as one of the successor companies to the Geoindustria State Enterprise. From simply carrying out geological work the company gradually expanded its activities to also include mining design, surveying, designing remediation and reclamation projects and land use planning.

Since its inception the geologists who worked within the company had made use of experience based on joint projects that had been carried out in the former Council for Mutual Economic Assistance of the socialist countries. In addition to private foreign geological projects, this experience constituted the basis for the company’s subsequent activities in the area of international development cooperation.

From the onset of the new millennium, the company’s geologists have been participating in projects related to international development cooperation that have been financed by the Czech Government (GET, 2016). Generally these projects are focused on:

  • the evaluation of selected raw materials that are of significance for the development of the local infrastructure and industry;
  • specific projects for the rehabilitation and the reclamation of sites that have been affected by mining;
  • the training of state administration employees;
  • the organising of lectures and courses;
  • providing specialised equipment, including software, GPS, digital cameras, etc.

Afghanistan (2005-2007)

In Afghanistan, GET s.r.o. was the principal member of the project entitled Development aid to Afghanistan for restoring the functioning of geological institutions focusing on the utilisation of mineral resources. Also closely involved in this project were the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague and the Czech Geological Survey. On the Afghan side, the project was coordinated by the Afghanistan Geological Survey, Kabul Polytechnic University and the University of Kabul.

The individual activities that were carried out during the methodological section of the project were focused on the preparation of modern manuals for the design, implementation and interpretation of the results of geological work and additionally mining and geological documentation, mine surveying work, the methodology of the EIA studies, and programmes for reducing the impacts of mining and of mineral resources. All of these procedures were applied in the field (Knésl et al., 2006; Pechar, 2007).

In Chesht-i-Sharif in Herat Province, both white and grey marble of high quality was evaluated. Apart from its use as a dimension stone, it was also verified that it is suitable for the production of lime and, to a lesser extent, also of micronised limestone. In total 24 million m3 of prognostic resources were estimated to be present at the site.

At the Suah Ab deposit, located in the same area, a 4,900 m long and 150 m wide body of gypsum was identified. It was estimated that there was a total quantity of 36 million m3 of gypsum of varying quality to be found there.

Also several limestone occurrences were investigated in the surroundings of Kabul (Figure 1) and in the vicinity of the Jebel Seraj Cement Plant in Parwan. The methodology of the environmental impact assessment was prepared for the purpose of extracting the raw cement material. In 2016, the plant was reopened after having been closed for 20 years.


Figure 1: On an outcrop of blue-grey marble near Kabul, Afghanistan.


The mine surveying work, the technological surveying of the coal and the assessment of its suitability for energy production were carried out at the Calaw coal seam, which is located approximately 30 km southeast of the capital city, Kabul (Figure 2).


Figure 2: An exploratory incline shaft on the Calaw coal seam. Kabul, Afghanistan.


The educational section included the organising of specialised workshops and of field excursions. The main topics covered were petrology, tectonics, microscopy and geographic information systems. Several educational manuals and posters were printed, both in Persian and in Pashto. As part of this programme, Afghan experts visited the Czech Republic several times, where they trained at the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague.

The entire project was concluded in October 2007 with the organising of an international conference entitled The Geology and the Mineral Deposits of Afghanistan – The first meeting concerning the rehabilitation of geological research in Afghanistan.

Jamaica (2001-2011)

During its initial stage, a development assistance programme was implemented in accordance with projects that were entitled The Development and the Industrial Application of Non-Metallic Mineral Resources in Jamaica (2001-2005) and The Exploitation and Processing of Industrial Minerals in Jamaica and in additionally selected CARICOM countries (2006-2011). The work that was carried out was consistent with the priorities of the Jamaican party, which was represented by the Mines and Geology Division of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (Pechar and Štefek, 2006; Pechar et al., 2011).

Of particular interest were the high-percentage limestones that are suitable for the production of white cement, lime or micro-fillers; the volcanic rocks for the production of crushed stone with skid-resistant properties; the marbles suitable for producing decorative stone; the carbonate rocks for the production of Portland cement; and clay minerals as potential raw materials for producing ceramics or as additives for cement production. At the request of the Jamaican party, testing was also carried out at selected sites of clay minerals for the production of expanded aggregate, on the properties of the red sludge that emanates from the treatment of bauxite for its potential use in industry, while evidence concerning barite and rare earths was evaluated in regard to their potential danger to the environment. In total, during the period from 2001to 2011, 43 final reports were elaborated and submitted to the Jamaican party, representing a possible basis for future exploration (Figure 3).


Figure 3: A field trip of Czech and Jamaican geologists in the Rio Grande area, Portland, Jamaica.


Because in some instances mining and mineral processing in Jamaica is poorly planned and can have a negative impact on the environment, another important part of the programme was the introduction of a variety of methods that can be utilised for development, extraction, treatment, rehabilitation and/or reclamation. Czech geologists contributed significantly to the establishment of a geological and mineralogical-petrological exhibition at the museum of the Mines and Geology Division in Kingston, which currently is accessed primarily by the local schools and by The University of the West Indies (Figure 4).


Figure 4: The presentation of the cooperation project’s results in the Mines and Geology Division, Kingston, Jamaica.


Belize (2007–2010)

The work carried out in Belize was conducted in accordance with the development aid project entitled The Exploitation and Processing of Industrial Minerals in Jamaica and in additionally selected CARICOM countries (Pechar, 2006–2011). The Belizean party was represented both by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and the Geology and Petroleum Department (GPD).

A large area of Belize is covered by tropical forests and rainforest. Limestone, dolomite and gravel are mined to a limited extent; in recent years it is petroleum that has become the great hope. Our work was focused specifically on industrial minerals.

Prospecting work for feldspar was carried out in the central and western parts of Belize, focusing specifically on the granite massif of the Mountain Pine Ridge (Figure 5). Evaluated were the white-burning ceramic clay resources located in Swasey Bladen, materials that are suitable for tiles and colour-ware clays that are suitable for the manufacture of stoneware and of coarse pottery (Figures 6 and 7). The applicability of raw materials for foundry and, more recently also for other uses, such as for the production of mineral litter, was verified at the bentonite deposits located in Spanish Lookout (Figures 8, 9). The dolomite deposits located in the Stann Creek District were investigated for their main features in regard to quality and quantity (Tvrdý and Pechar, 2014).


Figure 5: Granite outcrops in the stream of Rio On, Pine Ridge Mts., Belize.


Figure 6: Exploratory drilling using a hand-held Eijkelkamp auger set in Swasey Bladen, Belize. Note the pine trees that have been bent by hurricanes.


  

Figure 7: Laboratory-fired samples of ceramic clays from Swasey Bladen, Belize.


Figure 8: White bentonite from Spanish Lookout, Belize. The drilling core is placed in one- metre segments on plastic foil.


Figure 9: Pure bentonite clay from Spanish Lookout, Belize.


Guyana (2006–2008)

Work in Guyana was implemented in accordance with the same development aid project as that which was in operation in Belize (Pechar, 2006–2011). The scope of this work was based on the development objectives and priorities of the partners from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC).

Guyana is the largest of the CARICOM States; the majority of its land surface is covered by tropical forest. Primarily mined there are bauxite and gold, while hopes are also placed in the exploration for oil that is taking place along the coast. The main objective of our work was to carry out a geological and technological evaluation of potential sources of selected non-metallic raw materials: kaolin, silica sand, dimension stone, aggregates and feldspar sands.

Deposits of kaolin are found in areas in which bauxite was formerly mined and also those in which, in their excavated areas, the heads of kaolinitic eluvia of Precambrian granites or of fluvial relocated kaolinitic clays were exposed. The raw material is suitable for conventional methods of use (paper and ceramic industries), and also for such new applications as the production of metakaolin or of white refractories.

Mali (2008–2012)

The project entitled Evaluation of the resource potential of the building materials of Mali for material support for the development of the local infrastructure was focused on a comprehensive assessment of basic building materials from selected areas of the country (Lhotský et al., 2012). An integral feature of the project was the capacity building of the partner organisation DNGM (Direction Nationale de la Géologie et des Mines).

The results of the project —which mainly operated in Bamako, the urban capital – were highly positive. The thoroughly verified Kirina deposit of sand and gravel, with an area of more than 2 km2 and more than 6.4 million m3 of indicated resources of high quality raw materials suitable for the production of concrete or mortar, represents a very important deposit, the lifetime of which is estimated to be approximately 25–30 years (Figure 10).


Figure 10: Hand-held drilling taking place on the banks of the Niger. Kirina, Mali.


The survey that was carried out verified the industrial importance of the identified deposits of the building stone (dolerite) in the Sokolombougou area (Figure 11). The assessed resources of over 70 million m3 are usable in full, given favourable deposit and hydrogeological conditions, the small thickness of the overburden, the favourable technological quality of the raw material and its suitability for use and the absence of any conflicts of interest.


Figure 11: On the dolerite outcrop. Sokolombougou, Mali.


Vietnam (2006-2014)

The first development aid project that was implemented by our company under the auspices of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade was approved for the period of 2006–2010 under the title Acquisition of a raw material base for industrial use in the glass industry in the southern area of central Vietnam. Its main objective was to verify and to evaluate the resources of silica sands and of other minerals (feldspar, kaolin) and, additionally, to carry out pilot studies regarding any necessary adjustment(s) to the raw materials, to make plans for the development of a mining process, including proposals for the redevelopment and the revitalisation of the already excavated areas and for the evaluation of the impact of the anticipated mining projects on the environment.

The geological work led to the discovery of a commercially significant deposit (more than 50 million tons of explored reserves) of silica sand located in the Phong Dién district in the province of Thua Tien Hué and several other potentially significant deposits of kaolin located in the Phu Tho province (Figure 12).


Figure 12: Sampling of silica sand. Phong Dién, Vietnam.


In 2011, the GET Company won a grant from the Czech Development Agency (CDA) for the provision of professional training for Vietnamese Geological Survey GDGMV’s specialists in Hanoi and for students attending the Technical University in Hué City. The main objective was to familiarise the Vietnamese participants with the application of modern methods of deposit exploration, mine design, mine surveying and EIA.

In 2012–2014, on behalf of the CDA, the GET Company implemented the project entitled The Development of the Glass Industry in Central Vietnam. The main objective of this project, in addition to the assessment of the economic potential of the local raw materials, was to strengthen the technical and professional skills of the partner organisations (Tvrdý et al., 2014). The principal result was defining three raw materials that are suitable for use in the glass industry in the province of Thua Tien Hué: i.e. feldspar in Bot Do, limestone in Thuong Quang, and dolomitic limestone in Phong Xuan (Figures 13–15).


Figure 13: Fieldwork in the Phong Xuan limestone deposit, Vietnam.


Figure 14:  Checking the chemistry of limestones using an XRF spectrometer. Phong Xuan, Vietnam.


Figure 15: Evaluation of field work. Phong Dién, Vietnam.


Conclusions

In this article the authors would like to point out the benefits of geological topics in regard to developing international cooperation. The examples shared above clearly demonstrate that these topics:

  • contribute significantly to the development of the infrastructure;
  • enable the starting up of new localised production fields;
  • support sustainable economic growth;
  • enhance the “capacity building” of government authorities in the use of the mineral resources sector;
  • significantly improve the manner of management of natural resources.

In our opinion the management and evaluation of mineral resources have a rightful place in such programmes (Pechar and Tvrdý, 2016). Unfortunately, the current Czech development strategy pushes this topic into the background; thus, valuable opportunities for aiding development may be lost.

[1] Společnost s ručením omezeným is the Czech Republic legal structure for a private limited liability company. The commercial name of a limited liability company must include the designation “společnost s ručením omezeným” (“limited liability company”), or its abbreviated form “spol. s r.o.”, or “s.r.o.” Approximate equivalents in the company law of some other countries are e.g. Ltd., GmbH, or SARL (from Wikipedia).


References

GET. 2016. Projects Abroad. http://www.get.cz/en/projekty-v-zahranici/.

Knésl, I., Pechar, T., Martínek, K., Spudil, J., Wasay, A. 2006. Rozvojová pomoc Afghánistánu při obnově fungování geologických institucí se zaměřením na využívání surovinových zdrojů (Development assistance for Afghanistan in restoration of geological institutions with special attention to the exploitation of raw materials). Geoscience Research Reports for 2006, 153-156. The Czech Geological Survey, Prague. http://www.geology.cz/img/zpravyvyzkum/fulltext/2006-str.153-156.pdf.

Lhotský, P., Brož, B., Morysek, J., Nekl, M. 2012. Rapport final du Projet du Coopération au développement de la République Tchèque La determination du potentiel du Mali concernant les gisements de BTP pour le soutien du developpement du Mali et de son infrastructure. The Czech Development Agency, Prague. Unpublished report.

Pechar, T. 2006-2011. Roční zprávy o realizaci projektu rozvojové spolupráce „Těžba a úprava průmyslových nerostů na Jamajce a ve vybraných státech CARICOM“ (Annual reports on the implementation of the Project for the Development Assistance Programme entitled “The Exploitation and the Processing of Industrial Minerals in Jamaica and additionally selected CARICOM countries”). The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Prague. Unpublished reports.

Pechar, T. 2007. Roční zpráva o realizaci projektu Rozvojová pomoc Afghánistánu při obnově fungování geologických institucí se zaměřením na využívání surovinových zdrojů (Annual Report on the Project entitled Development aid to Afghanistan for restoring the functioning of geological institutions focusing on the utilisation of mineral resources). The Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic, Prague. Unpublished report.

Pechar, T., Štefek, V. 2006. Závěrečná zpráva o realizaci projektu „Rozvoj a průmyslové využití nemetalických minerálních zdrojů na Jamajce“ (Final report on the implementation of the Project entitled The Development and Industrial Application of Non-Metallic Mineral Resources in Jamaica). The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Prague. Unpublished report.

Pechar, T., Tvrdý, J. 2016. Our Experience with International Development Cooperation Projects. Presentation at workshop entitled Bosnia and Herzegovina: The sustainable treatment of natural resources as a condition for economic growth. The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, Prague, 23rd June 2016. http://www.get.cz/data/files/Prezentace_BaH_-_GET.pdf.

Pechar, T., Štefek, V., Opekar, L. 2011. A Presentation of the Industrial Minerals Cooperation Project entitled:  The Exploitation and Processing of Industrial Minerals in Jamaica and in additionally selected CARICOM countries 2006-2011. The Mines and Geology Division, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Kingston, Jamaica on the12th October 2011.

Tvrdý, J., Pechar, T. Jr. 2014. Nově ověřené výskyty průmyslových nerostů v Belize (Newly Verified Occurrences of Industrial Minerals in Belize). – Minerální suroviny 3, 36-41. http://online.fliphtml5.com/yzwm/ufhc/.

Tvrdý, J., Pechar, T., Lhotský, P. 2014. Výsledky projektu zahraniční rozvojové spolupráce „Rozvoj sklářského průmyslu ve středním Vietnamu“ (The results of the international development cooperation project entitled The Development of the Glass Industry in Central Vietnam). The Newsletter of the Czech Union of Geological Associations, 18, 84-86. http://www.caig-uga.cz/attach/zpravodaj-uga-18-10-2014-178.pdf


This article has been published in European Geologist Journal 42 – International cooperation on raw materials.

Read here the full issue: