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The Deputy High Commissioner (3rd from left) in a Group Photograph with Officials of UMaT
The Deputy Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Glen Askew, has paid a working visit to the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa as part of his tour of the area and to attend the commissioning of a resettlement project of 250 housing Units by Perseus Mining Company at Ayanfuri. He was accompanied by the Political and Economic Research Officer of the High Commission in Ghana, Ms Celeste Macauley. According to the Deputy High Commissioner he was on the visit to familiarise himself with activities and happenings in the University.
Welcoming the Deputy High Commissioner to the University, the Pro Vice Chancellor, Assoc Prof V. A. Temeng expressed the Vice Chancellor’s felicitations to him and apologised for the absence of the Vice Chancellor who was on an equally important assignment in Accra. After the Registrar, Mr A. K. Doku had introduced the Staff of the University present to the delegation, Assoc Prof V.A. Temeng told the Deputy High Commissioner some of the achievements of the University over the years. He spoke about the quality and uniqueness of the programmes being run in UMaT and indicated that as the only mining University in West Africa, UMaT has continued to support local content by producing quality graduates in mining, petroleum and allied engineering disciplines who are working in various industries especially in the mining and energy sectors all over the world.
Assoc Prof V.A. Temeng also told the Deputy High Commissioner of the support the University had received from the Australian High Commission in Ghana over the years. These included the Direct Aid Programme of the High Commission which supported the University to train small-scale miners in best mining practices with an amount of AUS$ 60,000, the support of 15 first class students of the University to pursue their PhD studies in the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the IM4DC programme that supported some academic staff of the University to attend short courses in Australia.
The Deputy High Commissioner expressed concern about the negative activities of the galamsey operators in the area which caused extensive damage to the environment and wanted to know what steps the University was taking with other stakeholders to curb the environmental challenges facing the area. He was particular about the use of mercury in the extraction of gold in the small scale mining areas and wanted to know if there was any technology developed to help reduce the use of mercury in the extraction of gold especially the negative effects of the use of mercury on the miners themselves, their families and the community in which they operated.
The Pro Vice Chancellor informed him that the University had done a lot to help find some solutions to the problem through the training programme the University designed for the small-scale miners through the Direct Aid Programme and also in collaboration with the Minerals Commission of Ghana. He also told him that a direct smelting technology had been developed to help eliminate the use of mercury in the gold extraction process, which technology was funded by the European Union. He said the technology was named by the small-scale miners themselves as “Sika Bukyia”, literally meaning money furnace. He further informed the Deputy High Commissioner that the University would be very appreciative of any financial support to make the technology commercial and also to undertake more training for the small-scale miners.
The Deputy High Commissioner was happy to note that the University was taking the necessary steps to help curb the environmental challenges and pledged to solicit more support from the High Commission for the University.
Also present at the meeting were Prof Newton Amegbey, the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Assoc Prof Sulemana Al-Hassan, the Acting Dean, Planning and Quality Assurance Unit, Mr Ebenezer Appiah-Kubi, the Finance Officer and Mr Paul Y.A. Yeboah, the University Relations Officer.
Source: Paul Y.A. Yeboah, Assistant Registrar (University Relations)