Investment in technical, mining education very critical – Dr Winfred Assibey-Bonsu

The Group Head, Corporate Technical Services at the West Perth, Australia Office of Goldfields Limited, Dr Winfred Assibey-Bonsu, has called for greater investment and funding in technical and mining education in the country.

According to him, funding high level technical and mining engineering education as well as research in the industry would not only ensure its survival, but would also aid in diversifying the country’s economy.

“Investment and funding of high level technical and mining engineering  education and research in the industry will ensure not only it’s survival  as a critical component within the economy and the resultant linkages, but, will also drive the growth  and diversification  of the Ghanaian economy,” he said.

Dr Assibey-Bonsu who is also the Geo-statistician and Evaluator of the company made the call here on Friday, when he delivered the 6th annual ALUMaT Lecture of UMaT.

This year’s lecture was on the topic: “Investing in engineering, research and education in UMaT: Roadmap for multiplying Ghana’s mineral wealth.”

He explained that a sustainable funding for research and development in mining engineering was a catalyst to explore the varied potentials of Ghana’s mineral resources for future use, adding that “Innovations and technology are two other critical ingredients for sustainable development and also spell the fortunes of the country.”

Dr Assibey-Bonsu noted that Ghana was richly endowed with many mineral resources including; gold, bauxite, manganese, diamond, oil and gas as well as solar energy, however, lack of innovation and technology made it difficult to harness it for the socio-economic development of the country.

“There is no doubt that the mineral industry has and will continue to be one of the major engines of Ghana’s economy,” he said.

He told the audience that decisions on such investment and funding for the future must, therefore be strategic with a long-term focus, stressing that “UmaT must find solutions to the challenges and also encourage knowledge transfer, through professional education in the 21st century.”

He also suggested that UMaT must venture into development   and building of a world -class centre of excellence, for example, in metallurgy and geophysics.

Dr Assibey-Bonsu said “We need to inject and enhance participation in the development of education. We can’t expect others solve all our problems. Gold is where you find it.  If we don’t develop, we will not find it. If we look, we will find it and UMaT should be funded to help Ghana exploit and build its natural resources. That’s the multiplying effects. There is the need for equipment in the value mix with local knowledge.”

The lecturer stated that Ghana, in future, with the new technology in robotics could use research, development and innovations to take samples even in space, suggesting that even activities on the field could be monitored from the office.

Drawing examples from the Australia economy, he recalled that in the 1960s, agriculture was a leader, but, after the country leveraged its opportunities over the years, the contribution of minerals to export by 2014 had averaged at the 60 percent mark while agriculture now stood at about 20 percent.

In Ghana, he reported that in 2017, records showed that $2.7billionwas plowed back into the economy while $1.2 billion was spent on local supplies and manufactures with 16 percent going into government revenue, during the period.

The Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof. Jerry Kuma, said management would collaborate with the Alumini and also strengthen linkages that would promote the growth of the university.

From Clement Adzei Boye, Tarkwa


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