The Ghana Chamber of Mines has launched a two-million dollar Tertiary Education Fund to support the development of high caliber of mining professionals and global leaders in the sustainable exploitation and management of natural resources.
The Fund, which will be administered in phases, would see producing member companies of the Chamber contributing 400,000 US dollars annually for five years to support tertiary education giving priority to the University of Mines and Technology (UmaT).
Additionally, contract mining and explosives manufacturing member companies shall each contribute 3,000 and 2,000 dollars, respectively, annually for five years.
Mr Sulemanu Koney, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said the Chamber expected to mobilise a total of 442,000 US dollars in 2020.
He said the Fund was primarily set up to identify and train the best brains, support research into technologies and introduce innovations that would directly benefit the mining industry in Ghana.
Specifically, it shall be applied to support teaching and learning, industry related research of faculty and post-graduate students, and application of automated systems as well as innovations in mining.
It will also cover bursary for under-graduate students according to industry needs, provision of educational resources; as well as internship programmes.
"Much as the decision to institute the Fund is altruistic, there is a palpable element of self-regard, which is to say that it will serve as a direct pipeline of human resources for mining companies in Ghana and beyond," Mr Koney said.
He said the mining companies' sustainable competitive advantage depended largely on the skills and competencies of their employees, and for a thriving mining industry there was the need to invest in tertiary institutions that trained the manpower.
He called for support to deepen the gains made in the training and mentoring of mining professionals in Ghana.
Mr Eric Asubonteng, the President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, said the launch signaled a key step in the Chamber's effort at supporting the development of Ghanaian skills in the resources industry.
"This Fund is primarily aimed at keeping Ghana's mining industry on an upward trajectory with a regular stream of highly qualified and technically astute professionals," he said.
Mr Asubonteng said like most globally recognised education funds, it was specifically aimed at keeping Ghana on top of the chain of mining destinations in Africa.
He expressed gratitude to all the individuals who had availed themselves to serve on the Fund's Advisory Board and urged them to bring their expertise and experience to bear on its administration.
"Let's collaborate to make the Fund a global reference point for the training of the best mining professionals," he said.
Mr Stephen Ndede, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Fund, said tertiary education, all over the world, had received big funding from allied companies and industries and Ghana should not be an exception.
"I believe in the future, individual member companies will go beyond the Chamber's initiative and collaborate with the UMaT in a more sustainable way to replicate similar investments made by mining companies elsewhere."
Professor J. S. Y. Kuma, the Vice-Chancellor of UMaT, acknowledged the diverse support from the Chamber in the University's development and said the establishment of the Education Fund would go a long way to enhance the training of quality human capital.
He said the University would use it to leverage the quality of products to be churned out.
He presented some of the key research publications to the Chamber.