The Ghana Chamber of Mines has held a ceremony to commission a three Storey Faculty Block at the University of Mines and Technology, built under the Ghana Chamber of Mines Tertiary Education Fund (GCM-TEF). The commissioning which took place on Friday, 17th February, 2023 was attended by the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines and Executive Vice President and Head of West Africa Regions for Gold Fields Ghana Ltd, Ing Joshua Mortoti, Ministers of State including the Member of Parliament for the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Constituency, the Municipal Chief Executive, Officials from the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Board Members of the Ghana Chamber of Mines Tertiary Education Fund, Stakeholders of the Mining Industry, Management, Staff and Students of the University.
Commissioning of GCM-FMMT Block
Speaking at the function, the President of the Chamber thanked the Governing Board of the Tertiary Education Fund of the Chamber for their diligent work over the years to ensure that students and faculty members benefit from the Fund. He said that the Chamber launched the Tertiary Education Fund in October 2019 with the purpose of helping build the needed human resource capital for the mining industry. The fund which is directly managed by a Governing Board with membership from member companies of the Chamber and the University has the objective to provide support for; infrastructural development, industry related research of faculty members and postgraduate students, undergraduate scholarships, industry training programmes, internship programmes for faculty members and the provision of educational resources for teaching and learning.
In his address, Ing Mortoti stated that maintaining and advancing academic research and skills development in the mining industry is a priority for the Chamber and that the Chamber has so far contributed over GHC1,000,000 as research grants to both students and faculty members of the University. The grants he said covers research areas such as; the development of environmentally friendly and sustainable small-scale gold mining methods and a model for Ghana, intelligent agriculture for alternative livelihood in mining communities, and a new hybrid technique for drilling and blasting for stable walls of open-pit mines.
Ing Joshua Mortorti, President, Ghana Chamber of Mines and Executive Vice President and Head of West Africa Region, Gold Fields
Ing Mortorti revealed that over USD 440,000 expected to be contributed annually into the Fund collectively by member companies of the Chamber from 2019 to 2024 has been earmarked for the University of Mines and Technology.
The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for the Tarkwa Nsuaem Constituency, Honourable George Mireku Duker who delivered a speech at the commissioning said that It is refreshing to note that the Chamber and its allied Members are taking significant steps on the corporate social responsibility front. He acknowledged the significant contributions of the Chamber and its initiatives in the areas of education, health, infrastructure, water and sanitation, and sports among others. Honourable Duker hoped that the efforts by the Chamber coupled with support from other stakeholders will go a long way to enhance the government’s policy of equal access to education. He said that Ghana has a youthful population and with the right technical training and education in mining with national strategies and policies that provide the right environment for the creation of employment opportunities, they would be the nation’s greatest asset for development. He appealed to the Chamber to continue to play a complementary role in the promotion of mining education to equip the youth with the right skills for both local and international employment. He also urged the Chamber to increase its support to beneficiary students, especially, females to promote gender equality in the mining industry.
Hon. George Mireku-Duker, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, MP for Tarkwa-Nsuaem Constituency
Also present at the ceremony was Dr Yayra Yao Dzakadzie, who also delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister for Education, Honourable Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum. In his address, Dr Dzakadzie commended the GCM-TEF for the great work and for the construction of the GCM Faculty of Mining and Minerals Technology block. He said that the mining sector is a major contributor to the country’s economic growth and development and that it is essential for it to be equipped with the right human resources to remain competitive and innovative. Dr Dzakadzie, said that the commissioning of the new facility is a sign of hope for Ghana’s mining industry, as it will open up new possibilities and create a strong foundation for the growth and development of the mining sector. He expressed hope that the facility will help secure a brighter future for the people of Ghana.
Dr Yayra Yao Dzakadzie
The Western Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Takoradi, Honourable Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, who graced the occasion, also expressed excitement at the Chambers gesture towards the University. He said that the Ghana Chamber of Mines represents the mining industry in Ghana, using the resources and capabilities of its members to deliver services that address members, government and community needs, in order to enhance development. Honourable Otchere-Darko used the opportunity to remind all that the galamsey menace is not out of the table yet. He said that the region is still fighting illegal mining and that it is crucial to get stakeholders involved in find lasting solutions to the canker. He used the platform to urge students to put into practice the right mining procedures that the University is imparting unto them. He reiterated that the hands-on experience and knowledge should be properly utilized, so that graduates will be able to correct and orient those who are perpetuating the wrong procedures.
Hon. Kwabena Otchere-Darko Mensah, Western Regional Minister
Honourable Otchere-Darko assured the University that it will continue to receive special attention from the Government with regards to infrastructural projects, to enable the University to continue to admit more students. He urged the University authorities and students to ensure a good maintenance culture to enable the building serve its intended purposes for many years to come.
On behalf of the University, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Amankwah expressed his appreciation to the Ghana Chamber of Mines for funding the GCM-FMMT block project and seeing it to a successful completion. He said that the support is a game changer since the University has received visible and tangible benefits including; a smart classroom for virtual lectures, research funds to nine lecturers to undertake various research of relevance to the mining industry and Ghana, grants to twelve postgraduate students to embark on thesis research of relevance to the mining industry, scholarships and internships for ninety-six (96) undergraduate students to support their education, and industrial retooling for twenty-two (22) lecturers in various mining companies.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Amankwah
Professor Amankwah stated that considering the level of transformation witnessed in the University in the first phase of the fund, that is the initial five years, with an expected amount of about $2.0 M, signed-off to aid in producing high calibre mining professionals for the local industry and beyond, the second phase of the project should be earmarked for the University to be utilised in developing a ‘Centre for Mining and Minerals Education’. Professor Amankwah said that the proposed centre will house a materials testing laboratory, mining laboratories and simulators that can create virtual reality of most mining and processing operations and support the training of the next generation of engineers.
The ceremony also saw the presentation of a cheque of GHC 340,000 worth of scholarships to students of the University.