Banzi Company Profile

Our Skills and Competencies

Oliver Barker started Banzi, originally Barker and Associates in 1982.  He has a wealth of experience in the fields of engineering, exploration and economic geology.  He has managed many projects over the years and is responsible for the publication of the Coalfields Map of South Africa, the Platinum Map of Southern Africa and the Gold Map of South Africa.

Oliver Barker - Founding member


Engineering, Exploration, Economic & Environmental Geology & Project Management.


BSc.(Hons) Geology.  (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg); MSc. (Witwatersrand).  Accredited University courses in Economics (2 years), Applied Economics and Business Economics.


  • Registered Natural Scientist; South African Council for Natural Scientists. (Pr.Sci. Nat)
  • Member, Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG)
  • Fellow, S.A. Institute of Engineering and Environmental Geologists (SAIEG).
  • Fellow, South African National Institute for Rock Engineers (FSANIRE)


  • Fellow, Geological Society of South Africa.
  • Member, Groundwater Division of the Geological Society of S.A.
  • Member, International Association of Engineering and Environmental Geologists.
  • Member, International Association of Impact Assessment (SA Section).
  • Founder Member, Fossil Fuel Foundation of Southern Africa.


Engineering & Environmental Geology

  • Geotechnical mapping for nuclear & fossil fuel power station foundations and tunnels.
  • Foundation investigations for mining, industrial and residential developments.
  • Dolomite instability and foundation investigations.
  • Manager of several multidisciplinary industrial and pollution management projects.
  • Rehabilitation of undermined ground - Gauteng, Mpumalanga & KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Hazard analysis of undermined areas in the Gauteng & Mpumalanga Provinces.
  • Environmental management planning & design for quarries & coal mines.
  • Geo-Legal Services to the legal and mining industry.

Economic Geology and Mineral Economics

  • Mineral resource evaluation and development, Southern African region.
  • Market analyses for various commodities for developing regions.
  • Feasibility studies and marketing of mineral rights for coal, gold & diamonds.
  • Past lecturer on mineral economics at Wits Technikon.
  • Publisher of seven editions of the Coalfields Map of South Africa (7th Edition 2007).
  • Publisher of 1st Edition of the Gold Mines and Projects of South Africa (2003).
  • Publisher of three editions of the Platinum Map of Southern Africa (3rd Edition 2008).

Exploration Geology

  • Exploration for platinum (PGE), gold, copper, diamonds & coal in Southern Africa and Nigeria.

Computer Services

  • Experience in computer based mine reserve evaluation, mine planning and feasibility studies.
  • Extensive experience in geological data base and mine planning software, AutoCAD applications to mining & geology, GIS & software development in related fields, including Techbase.


  • Consulted for many large corporations including AMOCO, ESKOM, Shell, Anglo American, Glencore, Lonrho and International Mining Consultants Limited.
  • Completed several feasibility studies of surface and underground coal mining operations as part of due diligence exercises for potential purchasers.
  • Experienced in the management and contract negotiation of coal exploration projects.
  • Highly experienced in resource appraisal and the assessment of geological risk to mining prospects (coal, base metals, gold & diamonds).
  • External experience includes work in the SADC region, Ghana, Nigeria and the USA.
  • Experienced in computer applications to resource evaluations and geological databases and training clients’ personnel in the use of computers in geological modelling & resource evaluation.


  Speaking Reading Writing
English Excellent Excellent Excellent
Afrikaans Good Good Fair
French Basic Fair  


In addition to the MSc. dissertation, more than 150 technical reports have been authored or co-authored on a diversity of earth science projects. Published papers include those on economic, exploration and engineering geology and contributions to the definitive series of books on Engineering Geology of South Africa. 

Positions held include:

  • President of SAIEG 2003 to 2004.
  • Chair of the South Africa Section of the AEG (1996 - 2006).   
  • Occasional lecturer in Engineering Geology, University of the Western Cape.
  • Convenor – Palaeoseismology 2000 Short Course and Workshop – Stellenbosch, November 2000.  

Interests include mountaineering, mountain biking, ecology, education and music.  Past Chair of the Johannesburg Nursery School Training College PTA and Junior, Senior and High School PTA’s of Sacred Heart College, Johannesburg. Floyd T Johnson award 2003 of the Association of Engineering Geologists (USA) for services to engineering geology.

Margaret I Sherwood


  • Geology, GIS and Environmental Management.


B. Sc (Geology & Geography) University of the Witwatersrand
B.Sc (Honours) (Geology) University of the Witwatersrand
B. Mus (UNISA) Grades III, IV, V and VI (pianoforte)
MSc. Environmental Management (in progress)


  • Small Business Development Course (Wits Business School, Small Business Development Unit).
  • AutoCAD Level I (Modena Design Centre).
  • Introduction to ArcGIS (GIMS).
  • Indigenous Tree Identification (Dr. Fanie Venter, lecturer and co-author of Making the most of Indigenous Trees).
  • Introduction to Permaculture Workshop (Bill Mollison, Australia, co-founder of Permaculture).


  • Geologist and Research Assistant.
  • Research and compilation of reports on Coal and coal bed methane in South Africa.
  • Compilation of reports for Petroleum Agency of South Africa, and the Department of Minerals and Energy.
  • Investigation of uranium deposits and uranium exploration in South Africa.
  • Research and data compilation for Barker’s Coalfield Map of South Africa.
  • Research and data compilation for Barker’s Platinum Map of Southern Africa.
  • AutoCAD and AutoDesk Map applications.
  • GIS Applications and data management.


Meg joined Banzi Geotechnics in September 2006. She has many years experience in diverse fields of business (horticulture, publishing, business management and geology) primarily in managerial positions. Her strengths lie in a practical approach, ability to work under pressure and an eye for detail. Her career interests lie in environmental management, research, exploration geology and spatial technology (GIS, digital cartography and draughting).


  Speaking Reading Writing
English Excellent Excellent Excellent
Afrikaans Good Good Good
German Basic Fair Basic


Avian research (primarily psittacines): breeding and behavioural studies, contributor to the World Parrot Trust; avian behavioural consultant; volunteer Johannesburg Zoo Avian Section.  Member of the Cape Parrot Working Group.

Ballroom & Latin American dancing (international curriculum), reading, puzzles, music and gardening.

Member of the International Association for Impact Assessment (South Africa).

Meg is also a qualified landscape designer.

Beth McAllister


  • Research.
  • Publishing – editing, proofreading and formatting for publication.


MA – Literary Studies (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)
BA (Hons) – English and Art History (University of Wales, Aberystwyth)


Beth graduated with a Masters degree in literature and has since been travelling to various parts of the world.  She has spent her time volunteering as well as working within various roles including publishing, HR and catering.  Experience involves research, data collection and writing.


Beth came to work for Banzi in 2008 and is employed as principal research officer for publications.  Her main project is to produce a publication based on the history of the South African coal industry.  The aim is for the publication to be used as an educational resource for schools and institutions.

Beth is also responsible for PR in Banzi as well as assisting in general research and office administration.  


Beth’s time is often spent visiting new places, travelling and hiking.  She is also highly interested in running and yoga as well as amateur photography, pottery and sculpture and literature.

Unstable excavation on Linksfield Ridge, Johannesburg
Unstable excavation on Linksfield Ridge, Johannesburg