Energy Resources
Focus Area 7

Coal will remain the major form of energy in South Africa for the foreseeable future. But, coal and by-products (ash) can find application in many different industries. Other potential energy and carbon-based chemical sources in South Africa include shale gas, oil, and natural gas.

The Karoo Basins of southern Africa host extensive Permian-aged coal deposits. Coal is primarily extracted for energy production, which will remain the primary energy source in South Africa for the foreseeable future. However, coal and its combustion byproducts (ash) find application in a variety of different industries. The economic geology of coal and associated materials concerns understanding the depositional environment, material characterization, consideration of the impact of the material on the environment, and the consideration of alternative markets (including the critical raw materials industry).

The sedimentary basins of southern Africa host shale gas deposits (which still require further research to determine the viability of a shale gas economy), on- and off-shore oil and gas deposits. Including the CoP in Oil and Gas, exploration is being supported with extensive research and human capacity development.

Current Research:

  1. Ambient noise tomography in the Leeu Gamka area: implications for shale gas exploration and associated seismic hazard
    Alastair Sloane
  2. Automatic earthquake detection via machine learning and its implication for gas extraction in the Karoo and induced seismicity in mining environments
    Dr Diego Quiros
  3. Characterization of a coal deposit within the Cornelia Sub-basin, Vereeniging-Sasolburg Coalfield, South Africa: Palaeo-depositional reconstruction and implications for coal utilization opportunities
    Prof. Nicola Wagner
  4. Macromolecular structural characterization of Highveld coals (South Africa), with a consideration of the influence of the depositional environment on coal quality
    Dr Marvin Moroeng
  5. A geophysical examination of the SW African continental shelf: insights into the reciprocity of ore grade and postglacial sea level trends
    Prof. Andrew Green
  6. Sedimentology and formation evaluation of early Cretaceous reservoirs of the Pletmos Basins, South Africa.
    Emeritus Professor,  Jan van Bever Donker
  7. Understanding the reservoir potential of the Bredasdorp Basin using 3D Acoustic Impedance Inversion
    Dr Stephanie Enslin
  8. Groundwater resource assessment of the Molteno-Indwe Coalfield in the Republic of South Africa.
    Prof. Oswald Gwavava