The Minerals Income Investment Fund (MllF) as part of its mandate to support the development of the entire mining value delivery system in Ghana has signed a groundbreaking partnership agreement with the University of Mines and Technology (UMan. The agreement which was executed at the offices of MllF on 16th August 2023 covers four principal areas. These are the construction of a world class Technical Training Centre which would also accommodate a modern Gold Jewelry Making and Training Center, an undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship program for women from the mining communities and an annual speaker series program.
MllF’S CONCEPTION OF THE PARTNERSHIP
The agreement between MllF and UMaT details support in the four key areas with a two-pronged objective being, the continuous transformation of the University into a center of global excellence and as a major source of quality local human capital to support a fast expanding and sophisticated mining sector. The Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Income Investment Fund, Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng elucidated further that, “the agreement underpins the beneficiation objective on which MllF was established”.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE TECHNICAL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE AND JEWELRY TRAINING CENTRE
The Technical Center will be an important cog for advanced technical training as new minerals are continuously being discovered in Ghana and new methods of value extraction formulated which requires a constant development of skills to meet these changing trends. Ghana needs the technical capacity and quality human capital to ensure that value is created and retained in Ghana. Mr Koranteng said, “real value in mining cannot be found in just taxes and royalties. The real benefit is found in the creation of value through value addition to the minerals, by having significant equity stake across the entire value chain, by creating an industry on the back of the new local content policy especially through the manufacturing of most of the inputs to be sourced locally. But most importantly, we cannot support this transformation without the requisite set of skills or the human capital. This is why the technical support, the Jewelry making and training center and scholarships with a bias towards engineering are so important”.
Ghana is the number one gold producer in Africa and well known for its high-grade gold. Unfortunately, our gold craftsmanship and Jewelry making (albeit authentic) is still rudimentary and has pushed Ghana out of a circa $ 700 Million-dollar annual global jewelry market. According to Mr Koranteng, Ghana can leverage on its cultural appeal and create a global jewelry market destination if it can hone these skills. The goal is to train as many jewelers as necessary to turn Ghana into a jewelry making hub. This is part of our goal to see value addition to gold in the country instead of just exporting the raw material. The art of jewelry making is dying in Ghana and there is an urgent need to train new jewelers that will further the credentials of the country as an attractive jewelry hub in Africa comparable to the United Arab Emirates and India where an integrated jewelry chain exists from design to sales markets exist.”
WOMEN IN MINING SCHOLARSHIP
The women in mining scholarship scheme will cover up to 50 women or girls a year for the next ten years from the start of the 2024 academic year. This program shall cover only brilliant girls or women from needy families in the mining communities. “The mining sector in Ghana carries a misconception of it being a man’s job thereby depriving it of quality human resource as only one out of four women complete” said Mr Koranteng. The MllF Women in Mining Program will at each cycle train two hundred (200) women to attain degrees in both undergraduate and postgraduate mining engineering studies. We aim to demystify the notion that mining is a man’s activity and as well as train women to occupy managerial positions in the mines.
Other details of the MllF-UMaT collaborative agreement include sponsoring the MllF Speaker Series, a thought leadership event created by the Fund for the University that brings an industry leader in Mining, Finance or Business to the doorstep of academia to share experiences and knowledge in their respective fields.
The MllF-UMaT Speaker Series seeks to establish a relationship between industry and academia to finetune education for the world of work.
A GAME CHANGING SUPPORT
The Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Dr. Richard Amankwah described the MllF-UMaT agreement as a game changer in the history of the University.
“This is the most transformative thing to happen to our university since its inception some thirty years ago. As a Vice-Chancellor, I have never seen an institution which is as forward thinking as the Minerals Income Investment Fund. Their support for UMaT is well thought through and hits the bulls-eye. The University of Mines and Technology is a unique University in Africa. This support from MllF will make us better in designing our education for the world of work,” Dr. Amankwaa said.
The Board Chairman of the Minerals Income Investment Fund, Professor Douglas Boateng says this first-of-its kind sectorial- academic partnership supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGGs) 4,5,8,9 and Agenda 2063 Transformation Framework of the African Union. “There are some immediate quantifiable benefits. However, the long-term human capital and societal impact can only be judged from 2027 and beyond. In all successful economies, sectorial organizations constantly support forward-thinking academic institutions with meaningful funding and resources. The era for token gestures by sector organizations is over. We hope that MllF’s initiative will spur others to responsibly do their fair share in strengthening academic institutions in support of building the Ghana we all want. Whatever we do as MllF is not for today. It is for generations after us and we believe this partnership is geared towards securing the future wealth of Ghana,” Professor Boateng said.
MllF is Ghana’s sovereign minerals fund mandated by the Minerals Income Investment Fund Act 2018, (Act 978) as amended, to maximise the value of dividends and royalties income accruing to the Republic in a beneficial, accountable and sustainable manner and to monetize Ghana’s mineral wealth in a manner that will secure the future wealth of the country.
At present, MllF receives royalties from at least ten minerals currently being mined in Ghana including Gold, Manganese, Limestone and Diamonds. MllF has equity stake in Asante Gold Corporation, a Canadian company trading on the Canadian, Frankfurt and Ghana Stock Exchanges. All of Asante Gold’s assets including the Bibiani and Chirano gold mines are domiciled in Ghana. The Fund also recently invested in the lnjaro Venture Capital Trust Fund targeting the value chain delivery process for Ghanaians in mine support services. MllF is also at the closing stages of an equity investment into Atlantic Lithium, an Australian company which has discovered commercial quantities of Lithium in Ewoyaa in the Central Region of Ghana.