An international development policy expert, Dr Kojo Busia, has encouraged the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) to strive and become a manufacturer of digital equipment to provide services to the mining value chain.
He added that UMaT, which is already a centre of excellence, must enter into partnerships with global supply chains with a view to becoming a regional hub for original equipment manufacturers (OEMS).
Dr Busia, who is also chief at Natural Resource and Environmental section of the Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources Management Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA), expressed these sentiments when he delivered a lecture on ‘ Leveraging local content policy in the mineral sector to scale up creation of industrial and economic transformation of Ghana’ at the second UMaT annual governance lecture, on Friday.
“Digital technology in the mining industry has become the potential to deliver a quantum leap in the way value is added across the value chain. It is a challenge and opportunity. Government, mining companies and academic institutions would have to ‘up their game’ with initiatives to maximise the use of technology,” he explained.
He told the audience that a digitised information system was also being used for identification of mineral deposits in real time to capture and receive feedbacks, adding that drones were also used for inspection and monitoring of mines operations to reduce cost and optimise operations.
He, however, added that new technologies came with its own challenges particularly with social license from the mining community.
Touching on Ghana’s mining policy, Dr Busia said it was too centralised, not integrated with Artisanal Small Mining (ASM) and Large Scale Mining (LSMs), thereby undermining the full potentials of the sector.
On the local content policy, Dr Busia argued that the law focused on localisation of mining staff and suggested supports for the development of local suppliers and rules of origin to define how much value must be added in Ghana for product to qualify as ‘made in Ghana.’
The Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof. Jerry Yaw Kuma, said the university was dedicated to training quality manpower for the mining sector, adding that a number of mining equipment service companies employed Ghanaians.
He indicated that products of UMaT formed the core of the technical and managerial staff in the sector, saying that “this shows how well we are positioned to contribute to local content policy in the mining sector.”
Prof. Kuma, however, stated that “What we need is support from both government and industry players to continue to train more competent human resources for the sector.”
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TARKWA