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The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), in collaboration with Gold Fields Ghana Limited on Saturday, 5th June, 2021 started the development of a 34-acre Arboretum at a site close to the University Campus at Tarkwa. The Arboretum, which will house about 4000 trees, is to help plant and preserve some special tree species that are either going on extinct or cannot be found in the natural forest. Some trees were therefore planted to start the Arboretum.
The planting exercise was made to coincide with the World Environment Day, which is celebrated on every 5th June across the globe to generate awareness on the significance of nature and to remind people that nature should not be taken for granted. The planting was also done as part of preparations towards the execution of the Green Ghana Project aimed at planting over five million trees in the country.
Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah, Vice Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology in his speech stated that the development of the Arboretum was very necessary and consistent with the theme for the 2021 World Environment Day celebration, 'Ecosystem Restoration'. According to Prof Amankwah, UMaT will soon start a School of Sustainable Development which will run a programme in Forestry and Landscaping Engineering. The Arboretum will therefore give the platform for field and practical work for students of Forestry and Landscaping Engineering. It will also serve as a tourist centre in future in the Municipality and Region.
Prof Amankwah emphasised that after discussions with the Forestry Commission, it was noted that some nine timber species were under threat of being extinct in Ghana. The Arboretum would therefore be used to house such species in addition to other trees and food crops that have short life cycle. He then thanked the Forestry Commission and Gold Fields for their support to develop the Arboretum.
Dr Jones Mantey, the Regional Unit Manager for Sustainable Development, Gold Fields Regional Team stated that Gold Fields shares in the vision of UMaT in relation to ecosystem restoration and the development of the Arboretum. Gold Fields was therefore satisfied to collaborate with UMaT to develop the Arboretum. According to Dr Mantey, the vision of Gold Fields is to be a global leader in sustainable gold mining of which ecosystem management is key. Again, environmental stewardship which involves land reclamation and rehabilitation, wild life management and reforestation is paramount to Gold Fields and so the creation of the Arboretum was well received by Gold Fields. He therefore assured participants of the programme that Gold Fields will provide equipment and other logistics that would be needed for the Arboretum.
Mr Victor Owusu Adade, the Deputy Forestry Manager for Forestry Commission for Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality expressed the satisfaction of the Forestry Commission with UMaT's decision to develop the Arboretum. He stated that the 2021 World Environment Day celebration marked the beginning of the United Nation's 10-year plan from 2021 to 2031 for ecosystem restoration, intended to reverse centuries of damage to forests, wetlands and ecosystems. He stated that the Forestry Commission will provide the needed trees for the Arboretum as the planting of trees falls in line with the activities of the Forestry Commission.
In attendance were Mr M. K. Okrah, Registrar, Prof Grace Ofori-Sarpong, Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Lecturers, students and officers of the Forestry Commission.
In a related development, Gold Fields Ghana has donated to UMaT, some equipment and logistics to be used at the Arboretum site. Dr Jones Mantey, who made the donation on behalf of Gold Fields stated that Gold Fields found it necessary to redeem its pledge of supporting UMaT to develop the Arboretum. Prof Richard Kwasi Amankwah received the items on behalf of UMaT and thanked Gold Fields for the donation. He assured Gold Fields that the items will be used for the intended purpose.