Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A visit from Freetown: Institutional strengthening of geoscience in Sierra Leone...by Darren Jones

Tour of the labs given by Simon Chenery and
John Wheeler in Keyworth
Earlier this summer we had the privilege of welcoming visitors from the National Minerals Agency (NMA) and Petroleum Directorate (PD) of Sierra Leone. BGS has developed a strong partnership with these geoscience institutions since 2015 as part of a wider extractive support programme funded by the UK Department for International Development. This project has involved various BGS staff across multiple directorates over the last few years.

The trip began with a visit to BGS HQ in Keyworth, meeting our very own John Ludden who gave our visitors a great introduction to BGS, our strategy and current governance model. Following this Simon Chenery gave them a comprehensive tour of the Keyworth lab facilities from thin section prep through to the state-of-the-art equipment used across our projects.   The NMA in particular took inspiration from this as they are currently in the process of setting up a laboratory with help and advice from the BGS. No trip to Keyworth is complete without a visit to the impressive core store; Scott Renshaw provided a tour, of which I am sure, impressed our visitors.

Discussion of Mam Tor Landslide with Pete Hobbs
John Ford, Pete Hobbs and Leanne Hughes delivered an excellent day of field training in the Peak District demonstrating the use of digital geological mapping program SIGMA. We also visited the Mam Tor landslide that was of significant interest following the landslide disaster in Freetown last year. Following this, our guests were treated to some of the UK’s finest geology on a sunny day along the Yorkshire coastline, visiting classic Jurassic outcrops at Robin Hoods Bay and the Cretaceous chalk cliffs of Flamborough Head.

The trip concluded with a visit to Hull, with a special invitation to the Guildhall by the Mayor and the Freetown Society of Hull. Hull and Freetown share a historical link and are established twinned cities, so this visit was a great opportunity to share experience and celebrate their partnership. Dr Liam Herringshaw also showed us around the geology department at the University of Hull.

I would like to extend my gratitude to all of you who have been involved in organising this tour and/or worked on the project. I am sure we all look forward to continue developing this partnership with both institutions into the future.

Twinned cities united as one. Meeting of the Freetown Society
of Hull, the Mayor of Hull, Geology Department at University
of Hull, BGS and our Sierra Leone visitors

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