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25 February 2017

‘Geological Survey must issue site certificates’

sitecert

Mr John Peter Amewu (3rd left) inspecting some ceramic products designed by the GSA. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John-Peter Amewu, has asked the Geological Survey Authority (GSA) to conduct site or foundation investigations and issue certified reports before major construction works are undertaken.

“You should expand and maintain a modern National Seismic Network (NSN) to monitor earthquakes, tsunamis and mine blasts that have the potential to impact negatively on lives and property,” he said.

The NSN is a permanent digital network of modern seismological and geophysical sensors that serve as a multipurpose scientific facility for monitoring, researching, and education.

Mr Amewu made the call when he visited the GSA and the Forestry Commission as part of a familiarisation tour of institutions under his ministry.

The minister said the action was necessary because of the increase in infrastructural development which required site investigations and seismic monitoring.

“Your role in site investigations and finding dam axis will be needed when the government begins the construction of dams for rural areas. Your expertise of geological survey will, therefore, be required in realising the government’s one village, one dam agenda,” Mr Amewu stressed.

Over the last five years, a number of buildings have collapsed, leading to the loss of lives and property mostly in some of the regional capitals. Experts have lamented the structural integrity of some ongoing projects in cities.

In that vein, the minister said the investigations were important for projects that had the potential to impact on subsurface structure and the environment.

With the authority struggling without funds to keep running the NSN, Mr Amewu pledged to deal with the challenges, while ensuring that the Minerals Development Fund Act was implemented to improve the finances of the authority, which has lost most of its experts to other lucrative agencies, public and private.

Clay and ceramic potentials

The GSA has researched into Ghana’s clay and ceramic potential and is producing samples of products that are high in demand in the energy and mining sectors, but are imported. The minister, therefore,  said the ministry would develop a plan to commercialise what he referred to as “lesser known minerals.”

According to the GSA, each of the 10 regions had more than 10 million tonnes of clay and ceramic deposits that could help the country produce tiles, porcelain products and bricks for more than 50 years.

Currently, the country imports millions of dollars’ worth of tiles and other ceramic products but the minister urged the authority not to sit on its research but make it available to the private sector as the government sought investors to fulfil its one district, one factory campaign promise.

The acting Chief Executive of the authority, Dr Daniel Boamah, said the authority was in discussion with its Chinese and Russian counterparts for collaboration to strengthen its capacity to execute its mineral exploration mandate.

Forestry Commission

Earlier at the Forestry Commission, the minister urged the management and staff of the commission to support the ministry to deal with the devastating effect of deforestation and forest degradation which were manifesting in ways such as the extinction of water bodies, loss of important timber species, loss of wildlife, habitat, rise in temperature and unpredictable weather patterns.

The acting Chief Executive of the Commission, Dr Ben Donkor, pledged the support of the commission to help the government to realise its vision for the forestry sector which was also in line with the commission’s vision.

Tools for FIP

Mr Amewu handed over various forestry tools and field equipment to the commission as part of the Ghana Forest Improvement Programme.

They include six tractors with trailers, ploughs and harrows; 40 motorcycles, a fire information van, four heavy duty trucks, jute sacks, protective clothing, first-aid kits, earth chisels, machetes, raincoats, pruning saws and goggles.

The Forest Investment Programme (FIP), being financed by the World Bank, aims at emission reduction and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

 

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