Emmanuel Sakala is a Senior Scientist in the Geophysics and Remote Sensing Unit of the Council for Geoscience. His expertise includes applications of geophysical techniques for mineral and groundwater exploration, artificial intelligence (AI) systems design and application; and data-mining. He has worked as a geophysicist in mining, research and consultancy services principally responsible for geophysical applications to solving various earth science related problems for over 12 years. Over his working years, he has done geophysical work in over ten African countries.
He obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Physics (2005), MSc degree in Geophysics (2007) both from the National University of Science and Technology, followed by a PhD degree in Geohydrology from the University of the Free State in 2018. In his PhD research, Emmanuel developed a new approach to groundwater vulnerability assessment using AI algorithms, specifically to acid mine drainage (AMD) at a regional coalfield scale. The approach allows for many of the vulnerability assessment processes to be automated facilitating rapid assessment and solving the complex problem of assessment of AMD at a regional scale for use by policy and decision makers. This approach to solving complex problems such as groundwater vulnerability can be rolled out and used in other fields such as geological mapping, mineral exploration, and other hydrogeological and environmental studies.
Immediate benefits to the scientific community include; increased efficiency by automating some of the routine processes in geoscience data processing, enhanced capabilities in multidisciplinary data integration and, ultimately, improving the quality of geoscience products, in service of humankind. In his career, he has received over five awards from outstanding research, conference proceedings and competitions.