The Kainji Dam across the river Niger is the largest engineering project currently being constructed in Africa south of the Sahara and is due to be completed at the end of 1968.

Following a short reference to geological conditions, a description is given of the investigation and assessment of the indigenous materials available for the building of this dam and its associated works, comprising rock, gravel, sand and earth.

The paper demonstrates the way design was adapted to make the most effective and efficient use of these local materials and, hence, the prior need for their quantity and quality to be precisely established.

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