Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2019 2020 2021
Previous Archive
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

Kovsie students bring warmth to the Bloemfontein community
2013-06-01

 

Michael van Niekerk and Melissa Lucas, prime of Akasia, making up the packages.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
14 June 2013

It goes without saying that winter in Bloemfontein is scarcely pleasant, especially if you do not have the proper clothing. Members of the Kovsie community have taken a step towards giving a helping hand to those in need. Share the Warmth Winter wonder box is a project that was launched by the SRC City Residences and Commuter students to help keep the cold away. Students and staff of the University of the Free State (UFS) donate a package which includes a blanket, beanie, gloves, socks and sweets, to be handed out to the children in need.

Share the Warmth Winter is the brainchild of Michael van Niekerk who is the SRC member in charge of the portfolio. He received the idea for such a project from an initiative he is a part of at Mooiplaas Township. “People make shoeboxes with presents inside for children and hand them out during Christmas. I thought it would be a great idea to share the warmth in winter, especially in the freezing Free State,” he said.

The team managed to collect more than 100 items in just a few weeks. The distribution of the boxes will take place around the Bloemfontein area. Teams will visit shelters, while others will hand out the boxes directly to children in places like Heidedal and downtown.

“I am very delighted by the response and think that this is something that needs to grow bigger and bigger to include the entire Bloemfontein every winter,” said Michael when asked if it is a once-off project. People who would like to bring warmth to the little ones, can still send boxes or packages to the SRC Building or send an email to vanniekerkm@ufs.ac.za for more information.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept