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29 July 2019 | Story Leonie Bolleurs
Dr Martin Clark
Dr Martin Clark, the founder of the MAGIC (Multi-purpose Aerial Geological Image Classification) initiative. MAGIC can obtain geological and structural information that is critical for making informed decisions in exploration and mineral extraction processes.

Mining has historically been described as a boom-and-bust industry, where fluctuations in mineral prices could result in extreme success or bankruptcy. Successful mining companies closely monitor assets/expenditures, risks, and other parameters associated with their business to best ensure their longevity. In most mineral industries, there are a few competitors that dominate the delivery of a mineral resource. As a result, technological development, along with other factors, are critical to ensure that these companies’ business remains viable and protected.

This is according to post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Geology, Dr Martin Clark.

Drone technology: better, faster, safer

He says technological development in mining generally translates to how a company can extract a resource from the ground better, faster, and safer. 

Dr Clark believes the rapid development of drone technology represents a shift in the toolbox that mining companies can employ.

“Drones can collect a great deal of data randomly over vast or small areas within hours, historically accomplished by mapping campaigns which can last months to years. Drones can also collect data in areas which are difficult and dangerous for humans to get to. These include cliff faces or rock walls that are difficult and dangerous to get close to, as well as stretches of land where dense vegetation, inaccessible terrain, and even atmospheric dangers become factors which reduce or modify the scope of exploration work,” he said. 

Expanding application of drones

Dr Clark’s work specifically focuses on expanding the applications for which drones are used. “I assess what and how good the imaging capabilities of drones are, use the imagery to generate 3-D models to drive scientific observation, and yield results which can help companies to extract resources. This initiative is called MAGIC (Multi-purpose Aerial Geological Image Classification),” he said. 



“MAGIC aims to collect geological and structural information that is critical for making informed decisions in exploration and mineral extraction processes,” he added.

Dr Clark is not only the founder of MAGIC; he also drives multiple aspects of the initiative including education, research, and business development. 

In 2013, when he was busy with his doctorate, there was already a spark of interest in using drones to address geological questions. At that time, Dr Clark was working with remotely sensed high-resolution LiDAR imagery to better understand geological structures at the Sudbury Mining Camp in Canada. The interest became a reality in 2018, when he applied this initiative during his post-doctoral fellowship at the UFS.

Now and the future

“At present, there are no direct mining projects underway, but projects are expected to begin in 2020. Drone operation and image-analysis techniques are currently being refined for industry,” he said. 

Besides his work with drones, Dr Clark also work in the fields of structural geology, remote sensing, and geospatial data analysis.  

News Archive

Complicity, tragedy and shameful prejudice displayed in exhibition
2013-06-06

 

The history of the persecution of homosexuals during the Nazi era on display.
Photo: Johan Roux
06 June 2013


The exhibition In Whom Can I Still Trust? portrays the history of the persecution of homosexuals during the Nazi era. It cuts even closer to home, as it also explores the protection of sexual minorities in South Africa as well.

Richard Freedman, Director of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation, was the guest speaker during the opening.

The exhibition is brought to South Africa thanks to the efforts of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation. The foundation redesigned and developed the exhibition specifically for South Africa. Originally under the curatorship of Dr Klaus Mueller from Berlin, on behalf of IHLIA (Homosexual and Lesbian Archive, Amsterdam), the exhibition highlights the largely-untold history of the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany. Archive photographs, personal testimonies and video clips relate the historical narrative to the prejudices still facing homosexuals today.

Through additional panels, the exhibition aims to focus attention on the protection of sexual minorities in South Africa. The It Gets Better South Africa Project – a collection of videos that discourages homophobic bullying – forms an important part of the exhibition. The interviewees range from struggle hero Ahmed Kathrada and Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to TV personality Joanne Strauss.

In Whom Can I Still Trust? is hosted by the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS in partnership with the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation, the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery and Student Affairs.

Exhibition runs: 6 –14 June 2013
Place: Thakaneng Bridge

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