The Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa to set up a Professorial Chair in Mining Engineering at the University. This is in fulfillment of a promise by the GNPC to invest in research in the core area of the university which is mining engineering. The agreement provides that GNPC will support research in mining engineering in the University with an amount of $250,000.00 annually.
The fund would enable the Chair conduct research pertinent to the mining industry, establish facilities for the Chair, give scholarships to postgraduate students working with the Chair and take care of the allowances of the Chair. The fund will also be used to organise refresher training for faculty members, conferences and workshops, to set up a Centre of Excellence in Ghana and Africa for producing world-class professionals in the fields of mining and technology to provide innovative solutions to the mining and petroleum industries and also to engage industry in the training of the next generation of Mining Engineering professionals. The Chief Executive Officer of GNPC, Dr K. K. Sarpong, signed on behalf of the GNPC whilst the Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof J. S. Y. Kuma, initialed for UMaT.
Dr K. K. Sarpong indicated that the main idea behind the establishment of the chair is to ensure that technology and research based tertiary institutions took up the challenge to develop industry specific human resource to advance the development of the country. He further said that industries could only do well if they depended on the quality of research and innovations that emerged from academia. According to Dr Sarpong, instituting a professorial chair to advance research, therefore, was the right thing to do. Dr Sarpong further said that the GNPC is, therefore, committing one million dollars for the Professorial Chair for a four year period.
Professor J. S. Y. Kuma, Vice Chancellor of the UMaT on his part thanked GNPC for the support and indicated that UMaT had made a lot of progress in research into the mining sector and in other technology related areas which have won the University a lot of awards locally and internationally. He gave an example of progress that has been made in the design and development of the ‘Sika Bukyia’ a Direct Smelting Kit, which is used to recover gold without the use of mercury with a recovery rate of 99%. According to Prof Kuma, the Sika Bukyia project which was funded by the European Union has been tested in the field and adjudged by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as one of the best technologies of the type in the world. He said further that the small-scale mining industry would benefit largely from the use of the Sika Bukyia. “This Chair will go a long way as far as research in this area is concerned”, Prof Kuma emphasised.
Prof Kuma further said that, UMaT was uniquely positioned to provide quality engineering education in the country because UMaT has the best Student Teacher Ratio in Ghana today for science and engineering programmes, a strong Quality Assurance System where students assess their lecturers online and a well motivated staff and students. He further said that one of UMaT’s distinguishing features was that as part of the curriculum, theory and practical lessons are well blended which gives the students the best teaching experiences and an edge over their other colleagues from other Universities when they engage in competitions.
Prof Kuma thanked GNPC led by Dr K. K. Sarpong and reiterated that the signing of the MoU will help strengthen the already existing relationship between the two institutions.
Present at the signing ceremony were Nana Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi ll, the Chairman of the GNPC Foundation, other Officials from GNPC and the Registrar of UMaT, Mr Andrews K. Doku.
Source: Paul Y. A. Yeboah, Head, University Relations Office