Business News of 2014-03-19

UMAT courts support of Sandvik to train licenced small-scale miners

The Vice-Chancellor of the University for Mines and Technology (UMAT), Tarkwa, Prof. Jerry Samuel Kuma, has appealed to Sandvik Mining Ghana to avail to the university its technology and equipment to help train the country’s licenced small-scale miners.

He said the havoc wrought on the environment through the crude mining methods of small-scale miners poses such serious danger that the urgency of reversing the situation is immediate. According to him, with support of the Swedish industrial giant, UMAT will be able to train the miners to operate in an environmentally sustainable way.

Prof. Kuma was speaking at a programme dubbed ‘Sandvik Goes to School’ organised by the company to school the students on the skills-set needed to get sustainable jobs in the mining industry.

The Vice-Chancellor said he is appealing to Sandvik Mining because in his view the company stands tall amongst all the multinationals providing equipment and support services in the mining industry. He acknowledged the support health and educational institutions in Tarkwa received from Sandvik in the past.

The operations of small-scale miners and their attendant devastating impact on the environment and sustainable livelihood, he said, made tackling it a critical matter for the university whose mandate includes training engineers for the mining industry.

“The fact of the matter is that some of our legal small-scale miners are also not trained on environmental issues -- how to safeguard the environment [in the process of mining],” he said.

“We have therefore proactively engaged the small-scale miners association in a bid to give them training so that they will be able to do their mining in a more environmentally-friendly manner,” he stated.

Prof. Kuma said the critical training is only possible with the state-of-the-art equipment and cutting technology supplied by Sandvik Mining. UMAT, he insisted, produces some of the best engineers on the African continent. “Our students stand should-to-shoulder with other students the world over,” he said.

Sandvik’s commitments

The Sales Area Manager and Managing Director for West Africa Sandvik Mining, Mr. Nuhu Salifu, reminded the students that a key skill required to obtain jobs after leaving school is analytical skill.

He said Sandvik globally spends three percent of its sales revenue on Research and Development, and this is to enable it provide its clients with well-tailored solutions. To be able to do this employees, he stressed, must have analytic skills coupled with communication skills.

“One of the basic skill-sets every student must have is communication skills, but unfortunately it is one of the things our engineers do not take too seriously. Beyond the engineering skills that you have, there are certain skills that you need which will complement your overall skills,” he stated.

Touching on corporate social responsibility activities of the company, Mr. Salifu said: “Sandvik Ghana has demonstrated consistent commitment to the development of the communities in which it operates. In the last 5 years the company has spent a total of US$752,000 on activities that benefit communities within and outside its areas of operation”.

He said: “The flagship of our corporate social responsibility remains the Apprenticeship Training Programme that we host and run with other mining-related organisations and the UMAT. From very humble beginnings, this collaboration between enterprise and academia has blossomed into an enviable programme that combines theory with practice -- many of whose products are currently on local and foreign assignments”.

Sandvik donated books requested for by UMAT worth more than US$30,000 to the university at the event. “This is in recognition of the immense contribution this august institution has made to the development of knowledge and skills within the mining industry locally and across the globe,” Mr. Salifu said.

He expressed optimism that the students will use the books to expand their knowledge and understanding of modern trends in their fields of study. Sandvik Mining, reputed as a leading global supplier of equipment and tools, service and technical solutions for the mining industry, he maintained, is a solutions-based company -- and persons who aspire to work with the company must be practically-oriented.

A former student of UMAT and Business Line Manager, Surface Drills of Sandvik, Daniel Korsah, admonished the students to take their studies seriously, as that is the only way they can contribute to solving the problems which confront the nation.

He said there are job opportunities despite the turbulence of the mining sector, but added that students who demonstrate integrity and dedication to duty stand a chance of being employed.