President Breaks Ground for the Construction of MIIF Technical Training Centre at UMaT

The President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, cut sod for the construction of the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Training Centre sited at the University of Mines and Technology. The ceremony, which was held on Friday, 3rd May, 2024 marked a significant step towards enhancing Ghana’s mining sector.  Upon completion, the training centre will be set to become a hub for adding value to Ghana’s mineral resources and improving the knowledge and skills of individuals within the mining industry.

The centre is designed to house a 500-seater lecture theatre, a library, and offices to support the running of practical programmes in metal smithing, jewellery technology and the hallmarking of jewellery to international standards. it will also explore the use of artificial intelligence and smart systems in mineral value addition.

Delivering his address, the Special Guest of Honour, President Akufo-Addo emphasised the importance of citizen participation in ownership, funding, and value chain development within industrialisation efforts, including listing gold on the stock market. He noted that while Ghana currently focuses on the primary extraction of resources, it is essential to move towards value addition. The President emphasised the need to develop an ecosystem that enables Ghanaian-owned firms to flourish in the global mineral sector and advocated for the creation and growth of companies capable of international trade.

His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-AddoHis Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo - The President of Ghana

The President stressed on the significance of the Training Centre for value addition stating the traditional importance of jewellery as a value addition process for gold and other minerals. The President expressed his vision for ‘Made in Ghana’ jewellery to attract tourists and hinted that the Centre will equip individuals with the skills to become modern-day jewellers and entrepreneurs in Ghana.

Highlighting some achievements of the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), the President underscored its remarkable transformation as one of the fastest growing mineral sovereign funds in the world since its establishment in 2018. He stated that the Fund currently manages about 1 billion dollars in assets, serving as an attestation to its prudent management. The President also acknowledged MIIF's strategic equity investments and partnerships in key resource projects, including Atlantic Lithium, and Electro-Chem Ltd., which are pivotal in developing Ghana’s lithium, gold, and salt resources and also mentioned the proposed Gold Bar Exchange Traded Fund, set to be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, as a significant initiative to boost the financial market. One other initiative the President underscored is the small-scale mining incubation programme which aims at formalising the sector, to transform small-scale operations into well-structured, fully Ghanaian-owned mining companies, to promote sustainable growth within the industry.

Concluding his speech, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo reaffirmed his commitment to responsible and sustainable mining practices and urged citizens to invest in education and skills development to ensure that Ghana’s natural resources are well-managed for the benefit of themselves and future generation.

Also delivering remarks at the programme, the Minister of Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin Adams underscored mining as the cornerstone of Ghana’s economy, contributing significantly to growth and revenue. He stated that in 2022, the mining and quarry sectors were the largest contributors to the country’s direct taxes with payments of GH₵6.4 billion representing 18.6% of total direct taxes received by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

Minister of Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin Adams Dr Mohammed Amin Adams - Minister of Finance

Dr Adams said that although Ghana contributes significantly to natural resources in Africa, the mining sector has not fully realized its value due to the lack of value addition to minerals, limited ownership of mining companies by locals and shortage of technical expertise.  Dr Adams stated however, that, the establishment of MIIF has contributed to moving Ghana further on the journey to fully exploiting its mineral resources.

Touching on the significance of MIIF partnerships, the Minister of Finance underscored that MIIF’s key partnerships, notably with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT).  These collaborations he said include the MIIF-UMaT scholarship for women in mining communities, the construction of the MIIF Technical Training Centre, the MIIF- UMaT Speaker Series, and continuous training for MIIF staff. These initiatives, the Minister said, highlight Ghana's commitment to maximizing its natural resources and developing a skilled workforce for the mining sector.

Dr Adams emphasised that in the efforts to deepen support for small-scale mining companies, the government plans to establish a Mineral Development Bank. This initiative, he said, aligns with the government’s vision to leverage its resources for generational wealth and position Ghana as a global leader in the mining industry.

The Western Regional Minister, Honourable Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah who also gave remarks at the programme described the sod-cutting ceremony as a historic milestone underscoring the project as a visionary roadmap towards realizing the Long-Term Development Plan for Ghana’s entire mining value chain.

Honourable Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah - Western Regional Minister

Honourable Darko-Mensah highlighted the timeliness of establishing the Centre at the University, given the rapidly evolving landscape of the country’s mineral sector. He pointed out that the discovery of new minerals and advancements in extraction technology underscore the increasing need for a technically skilled youth capable of navigating the complex and dynamic technological environment in the mining industry.

The Minister also expressed his gratitude to the government for prioritising the Western Region, acknowledging significant contributions to education, agriculture, infrastructure, and other critical areas.

Delivering his welcome address, the Member of Parliament for the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Constituency and the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Honourable George Mireku Duker, commended the University for its contribution towards research and innovations in the mining industry particularly, Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah’s research findings in Artisanal Small-Scale Mining on mercury pollution abatement in small scale gold operations, and the Sika Bukyia Technology.

Honourable George Mireku DukerHonourable George Mireku Duker - Member of Parliament for the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Constituency and Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources

Honourable Duker appealed to the government to consider setting up an exclusive facility for the training of artisanal small-scale miners. This, he believed will facilitate the implementation of government policies aimed at ensuring responsible mining and promoting environmental protection and sustainability of the sector.

Honourable Duker expressed optimism that the Technical Training Centre will advance the University’s vision to become a centre of excellence in the training of world-class professionals for the mining and allied industries and further provide the necessary manpower to match the rapid development of Ghana’s mining sector. He also urged the public to leverage on this opportunity to promote local content and local participation policies in the extractive sector to support the government.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Honourable Rev John Ntim Fordjour commended the government for the immense contribution towards advancing education through the provision of infrastructure and gradually transitioning Universities into centres of innovation and centres for ground-breaking research.

Honourable FordjourHonourable Rev John Ntim Fordjour - Deputy Minister of Education

Honourable Fordjour also expressed appreciation to MIIF for the investment and initiative which will provide cutting-edge jewellery-making technology in training members of the local community, local gold industry, students, members of faculty and researchers to ensure that Ghana-made jewellery meets international standards.

Highlighting a key initiative of his ministry, Honourable Fordjour lauded the University for successfully admitting its third cohort to the one-year Pre-Engineering Programme designed for non-science students aspiring to pursue engineering degrees at the tertiary level. He said that this marks a significant step in broadening access to engineering education.

Giving the closing remarks at the programme, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MIIF, Mr Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, said that the ceremony is a testament to the government’s vision to create a sustainable value-leading mining sector that covers localisation of value through equity investment and human capital development and gave assurances to Ghanaians of the continuous support of the Fund to advance the mining sector.

The sod-cutting ceremony was well attended by Traditional Leaders from the Apinto Divisional Stool, Religious Leaders, Staff and Students of the Nursing and Midwifery Training College, Officials from the Ghana Education Service, Ghana Prisons Service, Ghana Police Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Market Queens, students from Tarkwa, and Fiaseman Senior High Schools as well as members of the University Community.  

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