The 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) is building a legacy for geoscientists all over the world – now and in the future. The congress is taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa from 27 August to 04 September 2016.

The IGC’s legacy comprises of two initiatives: GeoHeritage and GeoHost. Both of these initiatives focus mainly on promoting geosciences within the African continent. GeoHeritage showcases Africa’s amazing geological wonders to the world, while GeoHost grants geoscientists from disadvantaged backgrounds full access to the IGC.


In order to draw the attention of IGC delegates to the remarkable geological superlatives and heritage of the African continent, a special 35th IGC commemorative book titled “Africa’s Top Geological Sites” will be available for all delegates. This volume, with 44 chapters and over 50 authors and co-authors, is a primary GeoHeritage legacy project of the congress.

“The objective of this unique publication is to assist in bridging the gap between geoheritage, geoscience, society and tourism” says Richard Viljoen, co-President of the IGC. “The book is also planned to act as a catalyst for the eventual establishment of an African Geoparks Network,” he continues.

A number of the sites described, including Table Mountain, the Vredefort Dome and the Cradle of Humankind, are in the process of being recognised as part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s Global Geoparks Network, which will attract geotourism from around the world. In celebration of the IGC, some of these sites will be captured on a special commemorative stamp collection that will be issued by the South African Post Office on 26 August 2016.

Another unique publication for the IGC, titled “The Great Mineral Fields of Africa”, aims to showcase the African continent’s extensive and varied mineral heritage. The book provides an overview of the continent’s unrivaled mining heritage, including the Witwatersrand Basin (the world’s greatest goldfield) the Bushveld Complex (which contains the world’s greatest deposits of platinum, chromium and vanadium) and the fantastic diamond deposits of Africa. The information provided will assist in attracting future exploration and investment to Africa.


“GeoHost is a support programme; it gives individuals who are not able to attend this prestigious global conference the opportunity to do so,” says Jeannette McGill, one of the global top 100 women in mining* and co-president of the IGC. “It is an important initiative, as it allows the congress to give back to the broader geoscience community,” she continues.

In order to be considered for the GeoHost programme, applicants needed to either be under the age of 35 years or hail from low-income African countries. A greater weighting was given to young applicants from developing economies. Thanks to contributions made by the African Union, international organisations, industry and corporate sponsors and various South African government departments, the IGC was able to provide additional funding for members of the South African academic geological community to attend.

The GeoHost programme is providing full funding for 81 successful applicants from all over the world – the funding includes airfares, accommodation, conference registration and a daily stipend for the individuals. An additional 66 delegates received the registration fees, while 18 other delegates received funding through the associated partnerships mentioned above.

Besides GeoHost, the IGC is also promoting geoscience to high school teachers in the Western and Eastern Cape by offering a Geoscience Information for Teachers (GIFT) workshop on 27 and 28 August 2016, at the Iziko Museum in Cape Town. The workshop will be presented by world-class geologists and will provide participants with hands-on activities and exercises in the geological field. The attending teachers will also receive educational material to spread their love for geology to their pupils.

“The 35th IGC is set to leave a lasting legacy, not just for the South African geological society, but for geoscientists all over the world,” says McGill. “We are proud to have the GeoHeritage and GeoHost initiatives as part of the Congress and urge the African and global geosciences community to join the IGC,” she concludes.

Registrations are open. Visit to sign up.

For more information about the IGC visit Join the 35th IGC Facebook page at

*According to Women in Mining,