The seventh edition of Barker’s Coalfield Map of South Africa was published, last November, by Books on the Wall, a wholly–owned subsidiary of integrated earth science and mining firm Banzi Geotechnics. The map of the coalfields, coal mines and coal production in South Africa has been updated to include coal information from Botswana and a simplified stratigraphy of each of the coalfields.
Since its inception in 1982 as Barker and Associates, now Banzi Geotechnics, the company has published five editions of the Barker’s Coalfields Map of South Africa, two editions of the Platinum Map of Southern Africa as well as a map on the gold mines and projects of South Africa. The maps are referred to in South Africa and internationally.
When the Coalfield maps were originally complied in 1986 they were compiled manually. With the development of computer-aided mapping and publishing, the products are now drawn digitally from the digital database that has been established over the years.
The 1995 edition of the Coalfield Map achieved a number of firsts. The map was the first edition to be completed entirely using computer techniques, as well as the first to achieve a significant penetration in the international market. It was awarded the prize for the best geographical information systems (GIS) submission to the Autocad Expo.
The commodity maps show the distribution of the coal and platinum deposits and the operating mines, as well as projects in advanced stages of development. The maps provide a broad range of information about the commodities as well as the mining methods and the markets supplied.
The compilation of the map from data supplied by the coal industry was achieved through computer-aided design map software. This technology provides Banzi with the GIS capabilities necessary to achieve this task.
The company has assembled data bases on other minerals, including gold, chrome and vanadium.
Banzi was appointed in 1998 by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Department of Minerals and Energy to provide a technoeconomic and historical review of the South African coal industry as part of the South African Bureau of Standard’s (SABS) coal programme’s annual bulletin.
This report is included in bulletin 113 of the SABS. The firm also completed bulletin 114 on black economic empowerment in coal mining and on clean coal technology among other topics. Bulletin 114 was published in September 2002.
The map is popular among several of the larger mining companies, which have had the map customised according to their corporate needs and identity.