West African Exploration Initiative

The West African Exploration Initiative (WAXI) is an ambitious research and training program led by UWA in collaboration with partner institutions in France, Ireland and across West Africa, and is focussed on the mineral potential of the West African Craton.

The overall aim of West Africa Exploration Initiative is to enhance the exploration potential of the West African Craton through an integrated program of research and data gathering into its “anatomy’, and to augment the capacity of local institutions to undertake this form of work.  The capacity building activities include in-country professional training courses, scholarships and intra-African forums. The initiative covers the whole of the West African Craton and its immediate surrounds, and includes the following countries: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana, The Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Niger, Sierra Leone and Togo.

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.

A 250Gb on-line Exploration GIS has been developed with over 250 layers (80 unique to the WAXI project), which underpins our research and training activities, and continues to grow as new projects are carried out.

Stage three of the project commenced on the 1st of September 2014, and has already attracted industry funding from 10 mining companies and the in-kind support of 10 West African governments.


  • International Research Groups (South Africa, Ireland, France, Australia)
  • West African Research Groups (Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire)
  • West African Geological Surveys (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Togo, Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia)
  • International Mining Industry (Australia, Canada, UK)
  • NGO and SME (Luxembourg, Burkina Faso)