GECO: Geology for an ECOnomic sustainable development

Research centre for a sustainable management of natural mineral resources and towards more transparency in the mining sector

The Belgian Federal Government entrusted the Royal Museum for Central Africa and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences to develop a ‘centre of excellence’ oriented towards a sustainable management of natural resources, especially those from Africa.

The first objectives in 2007-2008 were to conduct an inventory of available geological data and to develop traceability tools of ore deposits (Copper, Cobalt, Uranium) in Katanga province (Democratic Republic of Congo).

The second phase of the GECO project will start in 2009 for 3 years with 4 main work packages:

  • WP1 - Physical and chemical characterisation of ore deposits and mining registry development
  • WP2 - Setting-up of traceability and certification of ores
  • WP3 - Environmental mapping
  • WP4 – Characterisation of mineral resources linked to the Lufilian sedimentary basin and geomaterials.


The main outcomes of the first phase (2007-2008) cover the following fields:

  • Realisation of a new geological map of the Lufilian Arc (Katanga) from existing scattered documents
  • Mapping of the small-scale mining sector
  • Characterisation and metallogeny of ore deposits
  • Development of mineralogical database of Cu-Co-U minerals
  • Development of an Internet-based Geomatic Portal (webGIS) gathering numerous cartographic documents such as geological maps, the ore occurrences, the formal and unformal mining sites, ... besides administrative and infrastructure information layers (cities, administrative borders, roads, ...).
  • A pilot-study of the traceability-certification of natural resources


In the Geological Survey of Belgium, our team is composed by:

  • Y. Vanbrabant, permanent Geologist – project coordinator
  • H. Goethals, permanent senior Geologist - mineralogy
  • L. Dupin, contract Geologist (full time) – geomatics, tectonics
  • Ch. Burlet, contract Geologist (full time) - geomatics
  • T. Thys, contract Geologist (full time) - mineralogy

In the Royal Museum for Central Africa, the staff is composed by:

  • Th. De Putter, permanent Geologist – project promotor
  • F. Meese, permanent Geologist – environmental aspects, soil and subsoil contaminations
  • S. Dewaele, contract PhD Geologist (full time) - metallogeny
  • M. Laghmouch, contract Geologist (full time) - cartography
  • P. Lahogue, contract Geologist (part time) – database management, cartography


Related media(s)
Snapshot of the webGIS platform
Internal member(s)
Yves Vanbrabant
Herman Goethals
Christian Burlet
The entire project (540 k€ for 2007-2008) was financed by the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs.
Partners and sponsors
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