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Prof Kuma having a Discussion with the Guests
Prof Kuma having a Discussion with the Guests

A delegation from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Ghana Project Office has paid a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma. The delegation was led by Ms Pilar Velasquez, the Programmes Officer of the United States Department of Labour (USDOL).

Welcoming the delegation to the University, Prof Kuma gave a brief history of the University and indicated that UMaT was the foremost University of the type that trains mining engineers in the whole of West Africa. He also indicated that the University was committed to the training of small scale miners with the hope that it will help to sanitise the artisanal and small scale mining sector, where, according to him, child labour issues were not given the needed attention. Prof Kuma further said that as part of the measures to tackle the menace, the University would start a new certificate programme in Small Scale Mine and Quarry Administration in the next academic year for interested Small Scale Miners to be trained on how to mine and manage their concessions.

Prof Kuma also informed the delegation that the University had established an excellent relationship with the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) and so in 2013 UMaT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GNASSM to carry out a three tier training programme for them but lack of funds stalled the progress of the programme. He added that the University had already trained 650 Small Scale Miners in 2016 through collaboration with the Minerals Commission and the Australian High Commission in Ghana. Prof Kuma further indicated that the University also trained over 2,500 Small Scale Miners with the best practices as a result of the Government’s decision to sanitise the sector since.

Prof Kuma also indicated that in a bid to help eliminate the use of mercury in the gold recovery process, the University carried out a research that was sponsored by the European Union and produced a direct smelting kit named by the Small Scale Miners themselves as ‘Sika bukyia’. The kit is able to recover 99% of the gold, he stressed. He also said that the University had submitted a proposal to Government to fund, develop and produce the direct smelting kit to be used by the Small scale Miners who had been trained by the University.

Ms Pilar Velasquez pointed out that their visit to UMaT was to discuss with the Vice Chancellor and his team the UMaT-GNASSM collaboration and the way forward towards the sustainable development of the Artisanal Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector, mercury free technologies, practicable available research and innovations on how to improve mining and mineral processing practice in the ASGM sector. She further said that the ILO was implementing a project dubbed “CARING Gold Mining Project” which is being funded by the United States Department of Labour and so they wanted to share some experiences with the University which is a stakeholder in the mining sector. Ms Velasquez and her team were excited by what UMaT was doing in the training of Small Scale Miners in the country. She further indicated that her group would collaborate with UMaT to improve the ASGM sector. She requested the University to submit a proposal on the development and production of the direct smelting kit to the USDOL for consideration.

Seated from Left Mr Alexandre Soh Ms Pilar Velasquez Prof Kuma and Mr Giovanni Soledad
Seated from Left Mr Alexandre Soh Ms Pilar Velasquez Prof Kuma and Mr Giovanni Soledad

Other members of the delegation included Mr Alexandre Soh, the Technical Officer from ILO, Mr Giovanni Soledad, the Project Manager of CARING Gold Mining Project, Mr Koku Treveh, the Mining Officer for the Project, Mr Emmanuel Kwame Mensah, the Child Labour Officer and Ms Louisa Asigri Telly, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer. Also present from UMaT, were, Prof Newton Amegbey, Dean of International Programmes Office, Assoc Prof S. Ndur, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Mineral Resources Technology, Dr Eric Broni Bediako, Lecturer, Department of Petroleum Engineering and Co-ordinator for the training of Small-Scale Miners in UMaT, Mr Eric Karvaapou, Senior Assistant Registrar, Office of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (ORIC) and Mr Paul Yeboah, University Relations Officer.

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