AMIRA P1061A The South American Exploration Initiative (SAXI)

The Tectonics, Architecture and Metallogeny of the Proterozoic of NE South America

This 12-month pilot project which commenced on March 21st 2018 will be an integrated data gathering program that has been inspired by the highly successful West African Exploration Initiative (WAXI, AMIRA International project series P934) and borrows some of its aims from other successful exploration programs that have led to new discoveries elsewhere in the world.

The Proterozoic Guiana Shield extends over five countries in north-eastern South America (Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, La Guyane (France) and Brazil) and represents the geological extension of the West African Craton. Between 2006 and 2010 the AMIRA P934 West African Exploration Initiative (WAXI) has built up an extensive exploration database for West Africa that is now out of confidentiality. There is no publically available equivalent database for the Guiana Shield and neighbouring terranes, and the aim of this project is to build a matching knowledge base that can be combined with the WAXI database to produce a seamless coverage for the two regions.

Research Program

The researchers will compile data from the literature as well as visiting Universities and Geological Surveys from each of the countries that host the Guiana Shield, as some data will be hard to source externally. The overall aim of South American Exploration Initiative is to enhance the exploration potential of the region through an integrated program of research and data gathering into its ‘anatomy’. Key motivations for undertaking this initiative are to assist exploration companies in focusing their activities in areas of maximum prospectivity and to help local Geological Surveys and Universities in the region in their role of providing pre-competitive data and information.

Specifically, the research team aim to:

  • Assist exploration companies in focusing their activities in areas of maximum prospectivity in both greenfields and brownfields areas, and consequently help them to leave an environmental impact as small as possible
  • Assist local governments and Geological Surveys in the region in their role of providing pre-competitive data and information in order to further stimulate inward exploration investment
  • Identify data and information gaps, in particular in geophysics, geochemistry and geochronology
  • Collate the results of the initiative into a single database open to all sponsors and local researchers.

At the end of the Pilot phase of this project the researchers would seek advice on the development of a full research program drawing upon identified data and knowledge gaps.


The principal benefits of sponsoring this initiative will include, but are not limited to:

  1. Exploration GIS: all publically available geoscience data at local and regional scales will be compiled into harmonised ArcMap and MapInfo projects.
  2. Reconstructed Data Products: Key datasets will be reprojected so that direct geospatial analysis of the estimated Proterozoic configuration of the West African Craton and the Guiana Shield can be made.
  3. Organise and conduct seminars and workshops for potential stakeholders: explain aims and objectives of the pilot study and canvass industry to define current and future needs in terms of basic data sets and research.
  4. Opportunity to define future research directions in the region.
  5. Opportunity to develop other similar projects in other parts of the world.


Stage 1 of the project will be staffed by personnel from the Centre for Exploration Targeting, SES, The University of Western Australia, including Mark Jessell, Sandra Occhipinti, Steffen Hagemann,  Mike Tedeschi, Nicolas Thébaud & Jean-Paul Bout, and the project is led by Prof Mark Jessell.

Partnerships with other groups include:

  • Prof Anne-Sylvie Andre-Mayer (Uni Lorraine)
  • Lenka Baratoux (IRD, Toulouse)
  • Aurelien Eglinger (Uni Lorraine)
  • Olivier Vanderhaeghe (University of Toulouse)
  • Germán Velasquez (Universidad de Chile)
  • Lydia Lobato (Federal University of Minas Gerais at Belo Horizonte).
  • Stephane Perrouty (Laurentian University)
  • Salomon Kroonenberg (Anton de Kom University of Suriname)
  • Eric Tohver (University of Sao Paolo)

Industry Support

We already have commitments from 10 companies:

  • Barrick Gold
  • Anglogold Ashanti
  • Anglo American
  • Avanco Reources (OZ Minerals)
  • Codelco do Brasil Mineracao
  • Goldcorp
  • Randgold Resources
  • Reunion Gold
  • Newcrest Mining
  • NV Grassalco

Regional Survey Support

We already have commitments from 2 of the regional geological surveys to participate as Sponsors-In-Kind:

  • Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC)
  • Geologisch Midjinbouwkundige Dienst (GMD)

Other geological surveys, ministries of mines and universities in the region are invited to discuss with the project team how they can be involved as sponsors-in-kind to help build their knowledge infrastructure.

Further Information

Prof. Mark Jessell

Centre for Exploration Targeting

The University of Western Australia

+614 2808 2004

Ms Adele Seymon

AMIRA International

+613 8636 9978