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15.06.2004 General News

GSD needs semi-autonomous status

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Accra, June 15, GNA - Mr Philip Yaw Oduro Amoako, Director of the Geological Survey Department (GSD), has called for a restructuring of the Department to make it a semi-autonomous body to enable it to perform its role effectively.
"As a body under the Ministry of Mines, the Department as of now faces a host of difficulties, ranging from logistics to modern equipment acquisition, making the gathering of geological information very difficult," he said.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Monday, Mr Amoako said "our Department's work is mainly trekking, and geological data alone covers about 62 percent of all risks involved in mining, beside other developments such as building, but the outfit is at the moment relying on obsolete equipment for its operations".
He noted that everyone appreciated the critical and essential nature of geological data, especially in averting earthquake or tremors, "but only few were interested in ensuring that such data was provided." Mr Amoako said the mining industry and other sectors of the economy would gain tremendously, if adequate geological survey data were available and accessible.
He expressed concern about the rapid development of buildings and other structures in the city with little or no consultation with the Department by the developers, "either forgetting or neglecting the fact that most parts in Accra are noted to be earthquake zones."
Mr Amoako said the Department had no mandate to take legal action against people building on earthquake lines, adding, "it's not because one can't build on such lands but one needs to know the geological formation of the area so as to know the type of materials to use and the nature of structure to put up".
In a speech read for him last week by Senior Minister J.H Mensah, President John Agyekum Kufuor called on the mining industry to make effective use of the Geological Survey Department in their operations. The President also called on the Department to put its house in order saying, "it is inexcusable to find geological experts and technicians grounded and idling away their time for lack of simple spare parts for their vehicles".