GEORGETOWN, GUYANA - The Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the University of Guyana (UG) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the continuation of the geological/geo-technical engineering diploma course which recently began at the Turkeyen campus and would cost some $18.7M.
The signing ceremony was done at GGMC, Brickdam, by Chairman Ron Webster, Commissioner (ag) William Woolford, UG Vice Chancellor Tota Mangar and Dean of the Faculty of Technology Sherwood Lowe in the presence of staff from both organisations.
GGMC Chairman, Ron Webster, and UG Vice Chancellor Tota Mangar shake hands after signing the MOU yesterday.
The initiative began in 2007 with the aim of raising the bar of professionalism among staff of the GGMC and other stakeholders involved in the mining industry by improving their engineering and technical capacities.
Yesterday’s signing extends the course for another two years and will cater for the sponsorship of the students, acquisition of reading material and payment to a coordinator of the programme and part time staff.
The first MoU was inked in September 2007 and catered for the provision of lecturers and technical resources to start the programme. Applicants were drawn from the GGMC, stakeholders in the private mining industry and even persons with diplomas in the natural sciences.
The GGMC has expended about $40M over the past few years on training which Webster said is a critical aspect of the mining sector because of the highly skilled professionals needed.
We need geologists, mining engineers; we also need people with skills in other professional areas such as administrations, accounts and the whole gamut of skills, the Chairman said.
Despite the present global recession, gold, which is an import mineral in Guyana, has managed to retain its value. Nevertheless, Webster said, the method of extracting the prized possession has to be done properly.
He added that the GGMC is responsible for maintaining the legal requirements under which mining operates but with technical training and knowledge efforts to promote sustainable mining can be strengthened.
The GGMC intends to make full use of the opportunity to send its members to UG as against the option of sending them abroad. The training programme also allows for industrial attachments.
Two students have achieved distinction in the course, and according to Woolford, it is a symbol of the success of GGMC's investment. The contract clearly states that scholarships can only be granted if the performance level in the course is at a certain level.
The UG Vice Chancellor considers the signing timely and another step in the collaboration between the GGMC and UG.
It is coming on the heels of only a few months ago; the CGX oil company donated some US$25,000 for the Faculty of Technology to have its own laboratory. It is also more commendable at the juncture of the University's history, when we are strapped for cash and also it is coming at a time when there is a widening global economic crisis,Mangar said.