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 Professor J. S. Y. Kuma Delivering the Welcome Address
Professor J. S. Y. Kuma Delivering the Welcome Address

The University of Mines and technology (UMaT), has held the 5th Biennial International Mining and Minerals Conference on the theme “Expanding the Frontiers of Mining Technology”. The Conference was attended by 164 participants from Africa and Australia.

In his welcome address to the participants to the conference, the Vice Chancellor, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma, was grateful to the participants for coming to engage each other in deliberations that would create value and help advance the frontiers of mining technology. Prof Kuma indicated that the organisation of this biennial conference was part of the strategy to actualise the vision of the University which is to become a Centre of Excellence in Ghana and Africa for producing world-class professionals in the fields of mining, petroleum, technology and related disciplines. He further said that as a University, we have always encouraged the exploitation of our natural resources using the best methods and the right technology and innovation.

Prof Kuma further indicated that many countries endowed with mineral resources have developed their economies because they exploited their mineral resources and that Ghana cannot be the exception as she works towards a country that wants to achieve an industrialised economy without aid. He emphasised that the motivation of the University for organising the conference was based on the fact that Ghana was endowed with abundant mineral resources which needed to be exploited for the benefit of the nation.

According to Prof Kuma, the challenges of running a mine currently were very apparent, especially under conditions of price uncertainties and low grades of the ore and so it was necessary to develop innovative ways of raising capital and improving recovery efficiency in the light of these uncertainties. He further pointed out that the future of the world we lived in today belonged to economies that took technology and innovation very seriously in their developmental efforts.

Prof Kuma further proposed that the country should take a collective decision to exploit the commercially mineable deposits of limestone in Buipe, Nauli and Oterkpolu, the columbite-tantalite and beryl deposits along the coast, quartz in Bogyesango, garnet in the Shai hills and iron in Podu, Shieni and Opon Manse, instead of concentrating on only gold, manganese and bauxite which have been mined for many years in the country. According to Prof Kuma, in Ghana today, people use tiles to decorate their houses which are currently being imported in large quantities from China and other countries. He called on the Minerals Commission to put the necessary legislation and measures in place to attract the private sector to venture into this lucrative area to create jobs for the teaming youth for the sustainable development of the country. Prof Kuma believed that it would also fit very well for His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s agenda for a Ghana beyond aid. He announced that a research on a bauxite upgrading technology has been led by Assoc Prof J. R. Dankwah which technology he added will make it possible to upgrade the bauxite ore from the current 40 to 45 percent alumna to 90 percent alumna which then will increase the price of the ore to about 10 times, thereby adding significant value to the ore.  

Mr Addae Antwi Boasiako CEO of Minerals Commission

Mr Addae Antwi Boasiako CEO of Minerals Commission

In a keynote address, the Special Guest of honour, Mr Kwaku Addae Antwi-Boasiako, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, indicated that the theme of the conference was indisputably apt. He indicated that being abreast with cutting-edge technology and its application should ensure that countries endowed with mineral resources would benefit from their exploitation, the minimisation of negative environmental impact, reduction of the cost of production and the maximisation of shared revenues. “For us in Ghana in particular, it should help our infrastructure development, reposition us as the destination of choice for mining investment in the West Africa sub region, enable us evolve our own kind of responsible small-scale mining model and stem the tale of woes that plague our mining landscape”, he stressed.

Mr Antwi-Boasiako based his address on the success story of how the Chileans clearly redefined and realised their national aspirations from effective and efficient exploration of copper. He indicated that Chile had been able to do it through technology, innovation and deliberately seeking new ways of mining copper and indicated that as a country we could also do it by learning from Chile.

Mr Antwi-Boasiako challenged the participants to bring about new ideas for the development of new technologies to address the key issues of socio-economic importance such as how technology could be harnessed to create a sustainable local economy after cessation of mining, to curtail the creation of ghost towns, how to excite the academia to continue to collaborate with industry in the area of production of activated carbons locally, mining with Zero Waste utilising technology, which according to him, Chile was already conducting research into and fabricating simple manually operated equipment for stone breakers, which, according to him, would save women and the youth from the current drudgery they continue to experience. He said further that this equipment could be modeled on the existing motorised ones but manually operated. He promised that the Commission would collaborate with the University in this endeavour. He was appreciative of the fact UMaT had already taken the lead to develop a field scale reactor which will be able to produce activated carbon commercially.

One hundred and twenty-two Technical papers were presented by the participants on various thematic areas including Environmental and Safety Engineering, Advances in Mineral Extraction, Electrical, Information and Communication Technology, Mechanical Applications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Development and Small-scale Mining, Geomatic and Geological Engineering and Mining and Petroleum Engineering.

Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Assistant Registrar and Head, University Relations Office