The 7th biennial International Mining and Mineral Conference opened at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, in the Western Region last Wednesday, on the theme “Innovations in mining and mineral processing, expanding the frontiers of mining technology.”
The two-day event, which drew engineers, scientists, researchers, consultants business executives, students and all those interested in mining, processing, petroleum and the environment, has the objectives to present new developments, exchange experiences and practices in mining and other disciplines.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker, noted that UMaT, one of the finest mining universities in the West African sub-region, was leading in the quest for researches and innovations to improve the value chain in the mining sector.
Already, he said, the human resource supply by UMaT towards Ghana’s mining industry had led to the growth in terms of productivity and discovery of innovations in the sector through seasoned professionals who were manning the affairs in both operational and policy handles.
For example, Mr Duker recognised Prof. Richard Kwasi Amankwah’s research findings on Artisanal and Small Scale mining (ASM) on mercury pollution abatement and Sika Buchia technology, while Prof. Mireku-Gyimah also worked on mineral royalty payment, which had contributed immensely to the growth of the mining industry.
He said that the International Energy Agency (IEA) had predicted a four-fold increase in the need for critical minerals by 2040, however, the commodity market was now increasingly unstable due to ever-changing geo-political factors, including now more deep-seated and more complex deposits.
These developments, he explained, required lot more capital and operational expenditures and the deployment of strategic and advanced technologies to develop and extract the minerals.
“The onus is on the Ghana Chamber of Mines and our higher schools of learning to spearhead the responsible and sustainable exploitation these minerals that Ghana hosts not only to increase profit and remain competitive for shareholders but to provide long term benefits,” Mr Duker added.
Mining, he said, had been with society for centuries, migrating from the ordinary artisanal mining practices, including the use of pickaxes, shovels and “sample tyres” through the Industrial Revolution, whereas mining equipment had become more modern and sophisticated to improve gold recovery and productivity.
Mr Duker continued, “What we see today in the Information age have been marginal improvement of the already stated innovations in times past. The current information age has seen lot of technological advancements in the mining industry and still lot in the offing.
“The expansion of the architecture – should drive towards creating more benefits for the catchment communities, reduction of stripping ratio cost, improve overall business productivity, improve upon disclosure of production to government and also deepen relationship between academia and industry.”
The Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof. Richard Kwasi Amankwah, said the conference which formed part of the university’s 70th anniversary celebration would help experts to share ideas, find ways of solving local problems and add knowledge to various fields.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TARKWA