DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Integrated Mineral and Energy Resource Analysis (CIMERA) is hosted by the Department of Geology at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), and co-hosted by the School of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). DSI-NRF CIMERA was launched on the 24th April 2014 by the National Research Foundation (NRF) section of the South African Department of Science and Technology (DSI). The CoE is funded by the (previous) Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the National Research Foundation (NRF), with contributions from the University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand. CoE’s are mandated by the DSI to supplement funding through collaborative industry and internationally funded projects.


DSI-NRF CIMERA Collaborating scientists are based at the Universities of Cape Town, Fort Hare, Free State, Johannesburg, Limpopo, Pretoria, Rhodes, Stellenbosch, Venda, Western Cape and Witwatersrand, as well as the Helmholtz Freiberg Institute for Resource Technology, Germany.

Thus, a diverse, collaborating, enabling environment for mineral and energy resource studies has been established. Access to globally competent facilities for geoscience research, and close co-operation between universities and other geoscience research institutions in South Africa and internationally, enables the participants under the DSI-NRF CIMERA umbrella to actively pursue world-class research. Further academic and industrial partners are actively being sought and welcomed.


The study of the origin, distribution and character of Earth mineral and fossil energy resource systems with the aim of ensuring their sustainable utilization not only in South Africa but Africa as a whole.

DSI-NRF CIMERA’s Eight Focus Areas

  1. Early Earth Mineral Systems and Metallogenesis
    Crustal and mineral deposit evolution in the Archean and Proterozoic eras. The impact on mineralization systems of the Great Oxidation Event
  2. Metallogenyand PaleogeographicImplications of Layered Igneous Complexes (LICs) and Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs)
    The main focus is on the BushveldComplex combined with studies on the Molopo Farms, Uitkomstand Kunene Complexes, and LIPs such as the UmkondoLIP, supplemented with geochronological studies and paleomagneticreconstructions of ancient supercontinents.
  3. Diamonds, Kimberlites, and Deep Crustal Processes
    Focus on southern African occurrences of this economically important rock class.
  4. Metallogeny of the greater Witwatersrand-Pongola Basin
    Focus on gold and uranium mineralization coupled with geophysics and geometallurgy to assist with “Advance Orebody Knowledge for Future Deep Mechanized Mining” as part of Operation Phakisa.
  5. Manganese and Iron Ore Deposits:
    Major focus on characterization of the giant Kalahari Manganese Deposit and the high-grade Sishen-type iron ore deposits of the Transvaal Supergroupin the Northern Cape Province, with a secondary focus on manganese and iron ore deposits in other parts of Africa; coupled with geochronology to understand the timing of metallogenesisand geometallurgicalstudies to ensure proper future utilization of the deposits, including low-grade ore resources.
  6. Base, Critical Metals, Gold and Other Deposits   
    Although the list of critical metals may vary from year to year and from country to country, it is recognised that some are in short supply. There are many elements of growing interest, such as indium and germanium, that have had little use historically. The major focus is on assessing those critical metals that are available in Africa.
  7. Energy Resources of Karoo-aged Basins

    Major focus on coal deposits and potential for natural gas production including shale gas with some work on Cretaceous basins of southern Africa

  8. Environmental and Groundwater Geology

    Focus on reclamation of old mine dumps and minimizing the effects of mining on the environment.


The research focus of DSI-NRF CIMERA is especially relevant to South Africa because it represents the most valuable piece of mineral real estate in the world ranking top in resource concentrations of gold, chromium, manganese, fluorite, aluminosilicates, vanadium, zirconium and the platinum-group elements, in addition to hosting important world class deposits of iron, uranium, diamonds and coal.

However, it is also highly relevant to Africa as a whole because the continent is moving into a new era where the demand for utilization of its large resources of bulk commodities like iron, manganese and bauxite are rapidly rising, but sufficient knowledge to ensure long term economic viability of extraction is lacking.

Human Resource Training and Development

Supply of highly trained mineral and energy resource analysts to ensure sustained development of the scientific and economic sectors of mineral and energy resource industries in South Africa and Africa as a whole.

Information Brokerage

Making available important information that relates to mineral and energy resources to policy makers and the community in general, e.g.:
a) Information pertaining to mineral and fossil fuel deposits that could be applied by policy makers to define future strategies and assist them to make informed decisions on allocation of mineral rights and plan infrastructure development.
b) Information regarding mineral and fossil fuel deposits that could potentially attract foreign investments.
c) Information on mineral deposits and fossil fuel occurrences that are too small for large mining houses to be interested in them, but would be ideal for establishment of small mining operations by local communities. This would foster further development of the small-scale mining sector in South Africa.
d) Making documents available to the public about mineral and fossil fuel resources that would enlighten them to understand the need for utilization of the resources but to also make clear their possible environmental impacts and how these can be prevented or minimized through careful scientific evaluation.


To serve as a central hub for research and human resource development in mineral and energy resource analysis in Africa.



PPM Research Centre
Department of Geology
University of Johannesburg


Economic Geology Research Institute (EGRI)
School of Earth Sciences
University of the Witwatersrand


University of Cape Town
University of Fort Hare
University of the Free State
University of Limpopo
University of Pretoria 
University of Venda
University of the Western Cape
Helmholtz Freiberg Institute for Resource Technology
Rhodes University
Stellenbosch University


Professor Nicola Wagner, UJ


Prof Judith Kinnaird, Wits


Dr George Henry, UJ
+27 11 559 4715


Miss Viwe Koti, UJ
+27 11 559 4728


Department of Geology
C1 Lab 305 (3rd Floor)
University of Johannesburg
Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Corner Kingsway Avenue and University Road
Auckland Park
Access via Gate 2

Postal Address:

University of Johannesburg
Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
PO Box 524, 2006 Auckland Park South Africa
Tel: +27 11 559 4728

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