Press releases issued by the MCG

Press Release 1/3/2024                           Jean Paul Sofia Public Inquiry Report


by the Malta Chamber of Geologists 

1st March 2024


The Jean Paul Sofia Public Inquiry Report

The Jean Paul Sofia Public Inquiry has highlighted the indispensable role of the geologist in the construction industry and has recommended that every rock excavation should be preceded by a report written by a geologist to assess ground conditions. This recommendation implies that the state must now recognise the profession of the geologist so that only warranted geologists will be allowed to make such geological reports and fill in the description of ground conditions of the Method Statement, which presently is done by other professionals who may not understand or misinterpret the site geology, as revealed in several cases.

Two months ago, the president of the Malta Chamber of Geologists had asked for a meeting with the Hon Dr Jonathan Attard to discuss this unacceptable situation, but the minister has not yet issued an invitation. The Chamber remains willing to offer its professional advice to the government and public entities, but the response has been one of indifference, despite the geologist’s important role in matters of public safety.

The Public Inquiry Report also revealed that the geological map of Malta produced by the Continental Shelf Department within the Ministry of Finance, is inaccurate. The law requires that the geological map is consulted ahead of rock excavation.

The Chamber of Geologists has identified serious omissions and tampering of this map especially since its 2022 ‘update’. Instead of making the necessary corrections, the Director General at the Continental Shelf Department continues to challenge the professional advice given by the Chamber of Geologists and refuses to make the necessary corrections, effectively undermining public safety, which can cost lives. Part of the tampered geological map includes the area around the site of the tragic collapse of Miriam Pace’s former home in 2020.  

Although responsible for making Malta’s geological map, the public inquiry Report confirms that the Continental Shelf Department does not employ any geologists. The same Department was also responsible for the absolute failure of Malta’s oil and gas exploration over the years. Several of the Chamber’s members had approached the Director General to offer their help in the national interest, but they were ignored.

The Chamber agrees with the prime minister that those responsible should now resign and believes that the position of the Director General at the Continental Shelf Department is no longer tenable. The Chamber urges the government to set up a national Geological Service as found in every other European country. The Geological Service would employ geologists to update Malta’s geological map, advise the public on geological hazards, and assess Malta’s natural resources on land and in its vast exclusive economic zone, for the benefit of all Maltese.

Press Release 1/9/2023                           Offshore renewable energy


by the Malta Chamber of Geologists

1st September 2023


Offshore Renewable Energy

The Malta Chamber of Geologists – Kamra tal-Ġeoloġi welcomes the public consultation document issued by the Energy and Water Agency within the Ministry for Environment, Energy and Enterprise.

The Malta Chamber of Geologists has been long campaigning for the utilisation of Malta’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for Malta’s energy needs. The EEZ offers immense potential for the development of natural gas and possibly hydrogen resources which Malta has failed to develop in the past decade, resulting in the country’s dependence on imported energy.

Nevertheless, the Chamber remarks about the short-sightedness and narrow-sightedness of this public consultation document. The Chamber notes that the document identifies several offshore sites for the development of solar and wind energy without any reference to prior basic knowledge and understanding about seabed geology on which these projects depend for anchorage. The success of these offshore projects depends on the seabed geology and its suitability for such projects, whereas the public consultation document only considers geological aspects after the offshore sites were selected when this geological data gathering, and analysis should have preceded the site selection exercise.

The Chamber reminds the public that the ‘updated’ geological map of Malta’s land area issued last year by the Continental Shelf Department already contains several and multiple errors and replicates the significant stratigraphical omissions and mapping errors of the past. In the case of both the geological map of Malta and now the public consultation document on offshore sites, the government and its agencies failed to consult the Chamber of Geologists prior to publishing the documents.

The Chamber notes that the public consultation document makes no mention of potential offshore geothermal energy sources which provide a stable and constant supply of energy but refers only to offshore wind and solar energy projects which are climate-dependent sources of energy when the climate itself is changing and becoming less predictable.

The Chamber reiterates its call for the establishment of a national Geological Service, noting that Malta remains the only European country that lacks a national Geological Service that gathers data on land and seabed geology. This lacuna places Malta and its people at a disadvantage while increasing risks and costs.

Press Release 3/12/2022                       Errors and omissions in the 'updated' Geological Map of Malta


by the Malta Chamber of Geologists

3rd December 2022



Errors and omissions in the ‘updated’ Geological Map of Malta


The Continental Shelf Department within the Ministry for Finance has published online an ‘updated’ Geological map of the Maltese Islands.

The ‘updated’ geological map contains several and multiple errors and replicates the significant stratigraphical omissions and mapping errors of the geological maps produced during former colonial administration up to the last geological map published in 1993. A routine desk study would have revealed publications and PhDs by Maltese geologists who have contributed significantly to the updating of Malta’s stratigraphy but were ignored.

The names of authors of the ‘updated’ map are not disclosed and remain secret. Acknowledgement of authorship is an essential requisite for credibility and accountability in any publication with scientific content. The Chamber recommends that the Geological Map is used with caution and only following the advice from a professional Geologist.

An erroneous Geological Map can have serious consequences on public safety and natural resources development. The Geological map of the Maltese islands is mentioned in Legal Notice 136 of 2019 as a guidance for excavation and the protection of adjacent third-party property. Nevertheless, LN 136 removed the requirement for a geological investigation that was enacted in LN 72 of 2013, exposing the public and especially third-party property alongside excavation sites to greater risks, now aggravated by an erroneous Geological Map.

Malta remains the only country in Europe where Geologists have no official or legal recognition. The Malta Chamber of Geologists insists that the profession of the geologist is recognised by the state. Despite the Chamber’s representations to Minister Zrinzo Azzopardi, the situation remains unchanged. To make matters worse, the Chairman of the Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC), perit Charles Buhagiar has denied the Malta Chamber of Geologists membership to the BICC Advisory Board. Geologists were also denied the possibility to contribute to the drafting of the Building Code.

Malta also remains the only European country without a national Geological Service. European countries, including those that achieved independence decades after ours have long established their own Geological Service or Survey which is responsible for geological mapping and investigation of the country’s natural resources as well as identifying potential geological hazards that can damage and destroy property and lives as happened recently in Ischia Island, Italy, and also the geohazards that left several families homeless in St Paul’s Bay in the past few days.

The deplorable situation in Malta contrasts with the approach taken in Europe where Geologists are a recognised profession and contribute to the protection and safety of the public.

Press release 9/2/2022                       MCG denied place on BICC


by the Malta Chamber of Geologists

9th February 2022



Chamber of Geologists denied place on BICC


The Chamber of Geologists would welcome an overhaul in the construction industry. However, nothing has changed on the matter of the tragic and fatal accidents resulting from rock excavation next to third party property that occurred in the past few years. These accidents happened because those involved were not qualified to assess site geology and the risks of excavation which only Geologists as the experts on rock can evaluate. To aggravate matters, recent legislation removed the previous requirement of geological investigations.


In view of this dire situation, I wrote to the Chairman of the BICC four months ago and suggested that Geologists are included in the deliberations and write up of the Building Codes. Since my suggestion was made, the Chamber of Geologists was set up which repeated the same suggestion.


Sadly, the suggestions to include Geologists at such a critical stage were ignored by the Chairman of the BICC so that the Building Code was drawn up by periti only. A copy of the Building Code was handed to me as President of the Chamber only after the Code was concluded without our essential input on rock excavation.


The Chamber would like to remind the Chairman of the BICC and the CEO of the BCA that they persist in ignoring the  Report of the Building Industry Technical Committee (The Quintano Report of 2020) appointed by the Prime Minister to address the tragic accidents during excavation, which Report compared rock excavation in Malta to a ‘Russian roulette with the lives of third parties’ and concludes that the ‘Perit can no longer be the only expert’.


The Chamber of Geologists recently applied to the Chairman of the BICC so that it becomes a member of the BICC Advisory Board which has about 25 stakeholders of the construction industry, including Chambers representing other professional bodies. The reply of the BICC Chairman was that eventually, only ‘observer status’ may be granted to the Chamber. The Chamber of Geologists finds this reply unacceptable, and once again proves that the Chairman of the BICC wants to exclude or minimise the participation of the Geological profession which has an essential role in rock excavation and other matters requiring geological expertise.


This deplorable pattern of exclusion from Building Codes and legislation has been observed for some time, but the Chamber of Geologists remains undeterred in its mission to offer professional advice on safe rock excavation and the application of European standards in the interests of the public, the environment, and developers.


Dr Peter Gatt

President of the Malta Chamber of Geologists