General News Tue, 24 Feb 2004

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Geological Survey Department to be revamped

Accra, Feb. 24, GNA- Vice President, Aliu Mahama on Tuesday said government would put in place strategic measures to properly resource and empower the Geological Survey Department (GSD) to undertake its task efficiently.

He said the annual report of the Ghana Chamber of Mines for 2002 stated that the future of mining in the country is bleak, adding that, if minerals were to be found today, then the agency to undertake this task needed to be properly resourced.

The Vice President said this when he opened the 90th Anniversary Conference and an exhibition of the GSD in Accra, which had the theme "Ninety years of Geological Activities in Ghana, The Way Forward". Participants came from the Geological Surveys of Germany, United States, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, among other countries, to join Ghana for the conference.

Experts say about 600 square meters had been identified in the Volta Basin to contain bauxite, iron ore, phosphate, uranium and other minerals that needed to be mined in commercial quantities to enhance the economic growth of the country.

Vice President Aliu said government had successfully negotiated and obtained a 40-million Euros grant from the European Union to support the mining sector.

"Approximately half of this amount will be used for geological mapping and airborne geophysical survey of the Voltaian Basin of Ghana" he added.

He said all the unmapped Field Sheets in the country needed to be mapped to produce concise maps and reports for the mining industry. The Vice President said Rangold Resources was about to conclude arrangements to assist the Ministry of Mines, the GSD, and Minerals Commission to undertake a study of Ghana, based on integration and interpretation of geological and mineral rights data.

He said it was disturbing to note that people sometimes ignore the data provided by the GSD, and develop properties on geologically unsafe grounds.

With reference to especially some parts of Tantra Hills in Accra, some buildings have been constructed along geologically weak zones resulting in the development of deep cracks, and were pulled down.

He expressed the hope that the participants would come out with new models for mineral exploration and estimation, especially for other mineral commodities to offset Ghana's over-dependence and vulnerability on gold in the world market.

Mrs. Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines, said the role of the GSD is to develop a reliable national geo-science database to provide information for use by the mining sector, and areas such as water resource development, environmental management energy, land use and engineering works among other things.

She said recognising its importance to mining, the Ministry of Mines was collaborating with the Social partners of Denmark, Greenland, Britain, Germany and the European Union, to revitalise the department to maximise its contribution to the sector.

Mrs Bannerman said during the 90 years of the GSD's existence, it had accumulated a wealth of data, "regrettably, most of these are not in the format to attract current customer interest and usage." She said an archive rehabilitation unit has therefore been established to retrieve all such data and computerise them.

Mr. Philip Yaw Amoako, Director of GSD, said the department is the third oldest in Africa after Egypt and South Africa, adding that it had chalked many successes.

He said the department would be happy if data were largely used in national development efforts adding that that would be the only way to reward its efforts.

Mr. Amoako noted that geo-scientists should be included in Board Membership on bodies like the National Development Planning Commission, National Resource Commission, and Land Commission to make an impact. Ms. Joyce R. Aryee, Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, pledged its support to the GSD, adding that it would put its technical and intellectual resources at the disposal of the GSD when the need arose.

Mr. Godfred Opong, Former Director of the GSD, who chaired the function, commended the British Survey Department for setting up the Ghana GSD and called for its continuous support.

Source: GNA

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