Chinese Geological Company Discloses Drone for Liberia’s Mineral Resources


MONROVIA – A Chinese Company has started using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), popularly called Drone, in locating Liberia’s mineral resources around the Country.

By Samuel G. Dweh/freelance journalist (+231) 886-618-906/776-583-266; [email protected])

UAV is a latest technology used by some persons during warfare. It is controlled by a remote control in a person’s hand, instead of the person sitting inside it.

“This one is equipped with specialized geophysical instrument,” Yan Yongxiang, Manager of the Chinese geological and geochemical Company, said to a group of journalists on December 20, 2018, pointing his left hand to an ash color Drone, marked WT02, parked two feet away from where the interview was going on. 

He was speaking with a team of journalists at his Company’s head office at the James Spriggs Payne Airfield, Liberia’s domestic airbase, on December 20, 2018.

The interview venue looked like ware house: The Drone and an assembly of several dozens of red drums, each with ‘TOTAL’ written on it, at the entrance, and different other things.

The geological work is part of the general China-Aided Projects in Liberia, covering most sectors including road construction and/or maintenance, agriculture, health and minerals extraction.

Portion of the Company’s Profile states that the geological operations began in 2015, starting first with the “Lofa district area of Northern Liberia, for comprehensive geological survey,” it asserts.

The profile also states that the Company is working with Liberia’s Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy (MLME), and is collaborating with two other Chinese mineral exploration companies: Institute of Geophysical and Geochemical Exploration of Chinese Academy Geosciences and, China Academy of Aerodynamics.

The project ‘completion’ portion points to 90, 512 square kilometers of 1:1,000,000 scale of 69 elements geochemical survey of the whole Liberia has been completed under the general task assigned to the Company; and 1, 298 square kilometers of the 1:100,000 scale 41 elements geochemical survey and 1:516.9 kilometers square of 1:50,000  geological survey of the key Lofa (County) has been covered.

“Also, the aeromagnetic survey of 14, 700 km.8 Gold & Iron deposits key prospecting prospects areas were divided in the  whole Liberia in which with an anomalies, successfully researched and summarized the geological setting of mineralization and magnetic regularity of the whole Liberia,” the Company’s profile states further.

The Profile went on : “The future prospecting and potential of Liberia will be evaluated, which will provide the key basis of the geoscience research and potential evaluation of mineral resource of Liberia.”

The entire project has four parts, Mr. Yongxian said to the journalists.

He explained: “First: 1:1,000,000 scale 69 elements geological survey for the whole Liberia; 1:100,000 41 scale elements geological key survey of the Lofa district. Second: 1:50,000 geological. Third: Aerodynamic survey of the whole Liberia. Fourth: Technical training of personnel for Liberia.”

The first and second parts have been completed on human beings’ body parts—eyes, hands, and legs.

According to the Chinese Manager, the Company is now on the third part—Aerodynamic survey—solely on the use of the Drone. The Flight of the aircraft automatically goes with the demonstration component fourth part—training.

“The UAV is to find out the regional distribution characters of air-borne magnetic force to provide basic geophysical data for Liberia’s mineral resources survey and further geological deployment,” the Company’s Profile also states.

Thirty-five Liberians, working at the MLME, have received a six-month training in China on operations of the UAV beginning from December 12, 2015, six months following the Company’s start of operations in Liberia.

“Desmond and Forkpa, here, were members of the group of Liberians who were trained,” Manager Yongxiang pointed to two Liberians—Desmond T. Thompson and Forkpa T. Dennis—sitting with him and buttressing or re-enforcing his points.

“We only learnt about the parts of the Drone and how each part functions. The practical part, flying, will be learnt in China in next year,” Desmond said to the reporters.

“We are desperate to learn how to fly the Drone, and to get much knowledge in geological and geochemical works. On this, we come to work as early as six o’ clock,” Forkpa burst in excitement.

The Flight Training is slated for May of 2019, but the Chinese refused to disclose names of the would-be Liberian beneficiaries.

On the day the journalists conducted the interview, the Liberia-based Control Station of Chinese government-aided Wuhan Center of China Geological Survey was the size of large sound-proof electric power generator for residential Apartments building. Only one person, Wang Zhicheng, a Pilot, was inside and working on a laptop computer. The Station was few meters off the 6,000-meter Runway of the Airstrip gradually being sandwiched by grass. 

“All equipment in here work together for the staff on the field and those here on sharing of information,” Mr. Yongxiang explained to the journalists on tour of the facility. “The Control Station uses a battery that keeps it working for one hour when we don’t have electricity.”

A large back-up electric power generator sat few meters from the Control Station