A Modern Environmental Monitoring Laboratory of International Standard has been Inaugurated at UMaT, Tarkwa

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The Danish Ambassodor being Assisted by the Vice Chancellor to cut the Tape to Inaugurate the Lab
The Danish Ambassodor being Assisted by the Vice Chancellor to cut the Tape to Inaugurate the Lab

The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa has inaugurated a state-of-the-art Environmental Monitoring Laboratory at the University. The aim for the establishment of the Laboratory is to promote and improve research activities in the University and also help to conduct consultancies as part of extension services to the mining and allied industries. The laboratory would provide services including water quality analysis, waste water analysis, blast monitoring, rock and soil testing, meteorological data and community training in environmental monitoring and allied services.

Giving a brief about the establishment of the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory, the Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma indicated that in 2009, the University submitted a request through the Ministry of Education to establish the laboratory through a DANIDA mixed-tied credit facility. The Laboratory formed part of the plans to establish the Department of Environmental and Safety Engineering in the University. Approval was, therefore, given for this request and in June 2013, the contract for the establishment of the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory was signed between UMaT and DESMI Contracting A/S, a Danish company at a contract value of eight million, six hundred and twenty six thousand, three hundred and six Euros (€ 8,626,306.00). The loan agreement for the contract was signed between the Government of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Finance and Nordea Bank Denmark A/S in November, 2016. Under the loan agreement, DANIDA provided a cash grant of seven hundred and eighty five thousand, five hundred and eighty three Euros (€785,583) while Nordea Bank provided a loan facility worth seven million eight hundred and forty thousand, seven hundred and twenty three Euros (€7,840,723). He further said that DESMI Contracting A/S did the technical handover of the Laboratory on 5th February, 2019 following the installation and commissioning of the equipment and various components under the Project.

Prof Kuma Delivering the Keynote Address1
Prof Kuma Delivering the Keynote Address

Prof Kuma stated that scientific research was proving to be the driving force for the development of many countries and therefore the changing face of environmentally related challenges must be of interest to all stakeholders especially considering the extent of environmental degradation that the country had witnessed in recent years. “UMaT will continue to support the fight to help curtail these problems through active research and dissemination of knowledge to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”, Prof Kuma emphasised. He assured that with the acquisition of some of the cutting edge equipment, the University was also optimistic of improving postgraduate research which was envisioned to serve as a driver to solving some of the numerous challenges industry faced. He called on industry players to take advantage of the opportunity and support more of their staff to undertake postgraduate studies in UMaT.

Dr Ishmael Quaicoe Explaining the use of the SEM to the Officials
Dr Ishmael Quaicoe Explaining the use of the SEM to the Officials

Prof Kuma used the occasion to eulogise Prof Newton Amegbey, the Director of the University Laboratories who had been a driving force behind the completion of the project. He thanked him and his team for ensuring that everything was set for the inauguration ceremony.

The Representative of the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Alexander Kwaning on his part said Government recognised the efforts UMaT was making to bring about quality in its products and pledged full support to the University in that regard.

The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Tove Degnbol indicated that the new laboratory facilities would significantly strengthen education and research services provided to the mining industry, Environmental Protection Agency, the Minerals Commission Inspectorate Division and the access by stakeholders such as civil society and local communities to influence decision-making at an informed basis. She also said that the inauguration of the laboratory marked the day when the many months of cooperation between Ghana and Denmark yielded a tangible outcome which also marked one more step in the long and well-established Ghana-Denmark cooperation and goodwill.

One of the Geotechnical Laboratory Equipment
One of the Geotechnical Laboratory Equipment

The Environmental Monitoring Laboratory is made up of 7 units namely Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, Air Quality Laboratory, Water Quality and Waste Water Laboratory, Geotechnical Laboratory, Petrological Laboratory, Geophysical Laboratory and the Mobile Laboratory. Among the equipment for analytical chemistry is a Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) which provides detailed high-resolution images of samples and can be used for mineral and material analysis.  It is the only one in Africa. The mobile unit is hooked up to a four-wheel drive vehicle which can be transported around.  This means that access to these advanced services to improve on testing and analysis can be available to all potential users, irrespective of location.  Samples can be collected with the mobile units and driven to the main laboratory for testing. 

 

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

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