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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

UFS staff among proud PhD graduates
2013-06-28

Prof Dave Lubbe with his two daughters, Leandi Steenkamp (left) and Nandi Lubbe.
Photo: Stefan Lotter

An exceptional moment at this year's graduation ceremony was when the two daughters of an academic, Prof Dave Lubbe of the Centre for Accounting, obtained their master's degrees. "It is indeed a highlight in my career that my daughters received their master's degrees cum laude at the same graduation ceremony, under my supervision!"

Prof Lubbe's two daughters, Nandi Lubbe and Leandi Steenkamp, both received their MCom with distinctions in Accounting. They completed their degrees under the supervision of Prof Lubbe and Nandi also won the Dean's medal as the best M student in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Julia Ramabenyane Mamosebatho and Emmie Smit. Julia, of the Faculty of Education: School for Social Sciences and Language Education, received her PhD in Curriculum Studies. Her thesis was on The facilitative role of Grade 1 teachers in the development of reading skills in Sesotho. Emmie, from the Office of the Dean: Education, did her thesis on Appreciating the University of the Free State's transformation: A juxtaposed journey with Alice to Wonderland. With this, she obtained her PhD in Higher Education Studies.

 

Merridy Wilson-Strydom and Deidre van Rooyen. Merridy obtained her PhD in Higher Education Studies. Her thesis A framework for facilitating the transition from school to university in South Africa: A capabilities approach, is a comprehensive and ambitious research project that was accomplished with great academic mastery. With her thesis, Civic culture and local economic development in a small town, Deidre obtained her PhD in Development Studies.

 

 
 The Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) boasted with five students who received their doctor’s degrees at this Winter Graduation. They are, from the left, front: Vierah Hulley, Chris Moseki, Ferdie Linde, Abdon Atangana and Jacob Nyende. Back is Prof Jopie Botha, Prof Gerrit van Tonder and Dr Danie Vermeulen.

 

 

Modulathoko Irvin Mabokgole received his master's degree in Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science. He also received the Senate Medal for best master's student at the university.

 

 

Dave Mills obtained his master's degree in Practical Theology.

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Manie Moolman received his PhD in Higher Education Studies. With his thesis, Competence directives for enhancing the employability of hospitality management graduates in South Africa, he addresses one of the most important challenges facing higher education training in hospitality management, namely the training of employable graduates.

 

 

Jo-Marí Visser obtained her PhD in Criminal and Medical Law. With her thesis First generation forensic evidence and its influence on legal decision-making: A South African perspective, she investigates forensic evidence and the collection thereof at the crime scene.

 

Maralize Conradie received her master's degree in Commercial Law. The subject of her thesis is A critical analysis of the right to fair labour practices.

 

Jan Beukes received his PhD in Music – Performing Arts. This lecturer at the Odeion School of Music's thesis is titled: Oorwegings by die realisering en dokumentering van 'n duet- of duo-orreltranskripsie van Fauré se Requiem (op. 48).

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