Geological Survey Authority investigates nation’s minerals base
The Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA) has intensified geological investigation to discover the volumes of lithium, nickel, cobalt, lead and other critical minerals, otherwise known as minerals of the future.
The acting Director-General of the GGSA, Isaac K. Mwinbelle, who made this known to the Daily Graphic last Friday, said the move formed part of efforts to diversify the country’s mineral base from the traditional gold, diamond, bauxite and manganese.
Mr Mwinbelle added that the rock investigations were meant to expand the potential of the mining industry and promote the country’s quest to transition to clean energy sources.
He said the authority was currently doing the pegmatite (rock) investigations in the Central, Eastern, Volta, Oti and Northern regions to determine the existence of those minerals.
“When the occurrences of these minerals are known, we can then investigate further to see their commercial value,” he said.
He spoke to the Daily Graphic when a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, paid a working visit to the GGSA to interact with the management of the authority.
The Deputy Minister’s delegation included the Advisor on Mines to the Minister, Benjamin Aryee, and the Technical Director of Mines at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Awuah.
“We are still doing the analysis, so it will be too early to say anything about the discovery of any minerals yet,” he said.
He said the analysis of the data being collated on a large scale would give the GGSA a fair knowledge about the existence of the critical minerals upon which it would advise the ministry accordingly.
However, Mr Mwinbelle said the extent to which the GGSA would be able to do better pegmatite analysis for the emerging minerals would depend on the availability of resources and logistics.
“We need resources and logistics such as portable field equipment, hand-held hammers, Global Position System (GPS), a functional laboratory and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to help us to analyse a wide range of minerals,” he said.
In terms of the GGSA’s contribution to the fight against illegal mining, the DG said the authority was working with the Minerals Commission to delineate mineralised areas for small-scale and community miners.
He observed that the delineation of the mineralised areas would promote responsible mining and curb the massive destruction of land through illegal mining.
He said the blocking out of mineralised lands would help to know the quantity of gold and the specific location, and whether it was economical to mine at the prevailing market price.
“You may assume that the whole portion is mineralised but you go and realise that it is only a small portion that contain the minerals.
Because you lack this information, you will continue digging the whole area.
If there was accurate geological information, you would have just dug a small area and saved the land from degradation,” he said.
Mr Mwinbelle said the GGSA had the needed human resource and expertise to do its work but it lacked funding and other resources to be able to deliver on that mandate.
Mr Duker urged the GGSA to develop a 10-year strategic plan that would help the authority to deliver on its mandate.
He said the plan needed a clearly defined pattern that would assist the authority to achieve its long-term vision of being the centre of excellence for geoscience.
He added that the plan must contain technical operations, collaborations with local and international partners, capacity-building of the staff, systems to improve the core mandate of geological and geophysical investigations, as well as data generation and management.
“This plan is key because it will help us to take bold decisions to move the GGSA to the next level,” he stressed.
He underscored the need for the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) and the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) to be made a core part of the plan to help with the resources needed to promote responsible mining.
Mr Duker said the GGSA was a key state institution that would help to promote responsible mining in the country and must be given the attention it deserved.
“If an investor wants to come to the country and mine, the first port of call will be the GGSA, so the authority needs to put itself in a position that makes it to provide updated data for mining decisions,” he said.
The deputy minister gave an assurance that the government was prepared to support the GGSA with resources to deliver on its mandate.