Geoscientists charged to support public policy on geological exploration

By Edzorna Francis Mensah

The Director of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Professor Samuel Dampare, has charged members of the Ghana Institution of Geoscientists (GHiG) to be more active and involved in the public sphere by proving well-researched, balanced, and unambiguous public opinions aimed at shaping public policy on pertinent subjects such as the impact of geological exploration and exploitation on climate change and environmental and sustainable development.

He also called on them to help fight Galamsey, a menace that has been a canker in the country in recent years, as well as in energy transition and new minerals such as cobalt and lithium.

Professor Dampare, who was speaking as the chairman at a handing over and induction ceremony of the newly elected executives of the Ghana Institution of Geoscientists (GHiG) for 2024/2025 term held in Accra on January 22.

He used the opportunity to remind them of the fact that, Ghana Institute of Geoscientists can operate if it wants to have the maximum impact on Ghanaian society and the world at large.

“I believe the GhIG can position itself if it is not already doing so to regulate the professional practice of geoscientists in Ghana by developing codes of conduct for practitioners and also standards work done by Geoscientists.

On public policy, Professor Dampare said there is a need for geoscientists to build a strong, credible political voice in matters relating to geological resources, their exploration and exploitation, and the consequent impact on other sectors of society such as the environment and the economy.

Touching on the academic and professional development domain, Prof noted, “GhiG must be interested in the quality of training that geoscientists receive and their caliber when they come to the world of work. We must be interested in the curricula, internships, and career progression opportunities for our young friends who would take the mantle of geoscience activities in our country after our generation.”

In his response to some of the issues raised, President Cristler Akwei Ankrah said, ‘Yes’, and “to truly stand out as an impactful geoscience professional group, we will empower members to be committed to sustainable practices; responsibly and ethically discharge their duties that resonate with the mandate that are outlined by respective stakeholders in sustainability, climate change, and return on investment by shareholders”.

According to him, sustainability is no longer a buzzword but has become a strategic imperative, to which they at GhIG will challenge members and are ready to collaborate with governmental agencies and other stakeholders to conform.

He stressed that the minerals, the hydrocarbons, and the exploitation thereof are a summation of an exact science.

“Any attempt to circumvent the processes of the value chain brings up dire ramifications both long and short term. We, therefore, call on the managers of our resources for a collaborative effort with the experts at GhIG whilst limiting the overindulgence of the political actors, which sends negative signals to the general public that mining and related activities are our bane rather than an opportunity to harness the needed resources for sustainable national development.”