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AMIRA P1061A - SAXI - The South American Exploration Initiative

South America

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

This 12-month pilot project is 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 neighboring 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.