Chamber of Mines, UMAT sign MoU to boost gold recovery
• Dr Sulemanu Koney (3rd form left) exchanging the signed MoU with Professor Grace Ofori Sarpong. With them is Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah (2nd from right)

Chamber of Mines, UMAT sign MoU to boost gold recovery

The Ghana Chamber of Mines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) to conduct research aimed at finding solutions to improve the recovery of gold from carbonaceous orebodies.


Carbonaceous orebodies are those that do not yield completely to conventional processing methods and are, therefore, associated with low recoveries.

However, these orebodies abound in Ghana and pose a significant challenge to miners who encounter them.

Per the terms of the MoU, the Chamber of Mines would provide a research grant of $219,318 to UMaT over three years.

At the signing, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney, said the chamber was confident that the research would produce results that would address the perennial low recovery associated with carbonaceous orebodies.

“It takes more than mining to generate and create value out of the whole mining process and recoveries are key to the industry.

“We are talking about an orebody that is difficult to treat and for which reason if you apply the conventional methods of processing, you are getting about 55% in recovery which was below par and makes the whole process uneconomic," he stated.

He said the support would, therefore, enable UMaT to complete the research that would enable more recovery to support the country and industry.

Dr Koney said one of the aims of the chamber was to look for solutions to problems in the mining industry and would, therefore, continue to do so in order to address them.

He said the research would also aim to develop some PhD students, MA students and undergraduate students.

"So, it is not just that the outcome will be good for us but alongside this is a whole capacity building we are creating within the mining space and within our country,” he said.

Difficult to treat

For his part, the Vice-Chancellor of UMaT, Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah, said out of the three types of gold ores, the alluvial and the free milling were easy to treat while the refractory was difficult.

He cited an example of a mine in Bogoso, which had to close its pit because of a poor recovery rate of 44 per cent.

"Over the years, we've had several kinds of processes that have come up to treat these difficult-to-treat ores, but the environmental challenges associated with these methods caused them to go down." 

Prof. Amankwah said these challenges had led to much research and work on carbonaceous orebodies, leading to the discovery of the use of microbe to degrade carbonaceous orebodies.

He said the support to scale up the study not only for it to exist in test tubes but possibly for it to become something that the minerals industry could adopt as maybe a plant operation at that level was a great move.

"So, this kind of support that we are getting today, to me, is a game-changer in the minerals industry," Prof. Amankwah said.

The Lead Researcher, Prof. Grace Ofori Sarpong, who is the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies at UMaT, said she was excited about the partnership and the impact the research would have on the students.

She pledged to do her best to lead the team to do this research and train the PhD students and the Master’s students.

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