Research Activities

Impacts of mining activities on the environment

This project started in 2002 and has been on-going since. The research focuses on possible pollution of groundwater and surface water in mining areas and communities and should complement government and mining companies’ efforts to mitigate such adverse effects of the mining boom in Ghana. The programme is concentrated on the Tarkwa, Abosso and Prestea mining areas and has produced two PhDs.

At present the project is focusing on more long term monitoring of the evolution of the groundwater quality in the mining areas. A similar project is currently on-going along the Ashanti Belt at the axis of Dunkwa-Obuasi.


Water balance and hydrogeological studies of the Densu River Basin

The project was initiated in 1997 in which a research and training catchments was established at Buokurom in the Pompom Sub-basin of the Densu River Basin c. 50 km NW of Accra. The site includes a hydrometric and basic microclimatic station, two gauging stations and eight monitoring boreholes. The project is still on-going and a PhD thesis has been produced from this.

The station is used for monitoring wetland water balance, studies of recharge and groundwater fluctuations by continuously logging a number of hydrological and hydrogeological parameters. Surface water and existing boreholes and dug wells in the catchments area are continuously monitored by means of hydrometric and hydrogeological parameters. Groundwater and surface water quality are monitored at selected points in the catchments area. The Buokurom field station is being kept and maintained as a training station for graduate students in hydrology and hydrogeology. The results from these research programmes and the data from the climatologically station will be made available for the IWRM programme in the Densu River Basin.


Hydrogeological investigations and water balance studies in the Keta Basin, Volta Region

This Hydrogeological Project in the Keta District was initiated in 1996 in order to investigate the groundwater quality and the risk of saline groundwater in the Keta Limestone aquifer, which is the major groundwater resource in the Keta Basin and will be utilized for a number of new water supply schemes. Later, in 2001, the Hydrogeological Project at Anloga, Keta District was established in order to investigate the groundwater quality and the risk of seawater intrusion into the shallow groundwater reservoir at the Keta Strip. The outcome so far includes two conference presentation and one publication.

Currently, the hydrochemical and hydrogeological characteristics of the deep Keta Limestone Aquifer and its eastwards extension into the subsurface of Togo is being investigated to understand the recharge source to these confined aquifers in the basin. The results are of crucial interest for the activities of Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) in the coastal area of the eastern Ghana in order to help stem the increasing problem of freshwater-saltwater intrusion in the aquifers which has already caused the shutting down of the main borehole supplying the Keta township and its environs with potable water supply.


Assessment of Pollution Status and Vulnerability of Water Supply Aquifers of Keta

This is a groundwater monitoring project designed for the Keta Basin and stretches along the eastern coastline of Ghana and continues for over 30 km into Lome, Republic of Togo and wedged between the Gulf of Guinea and the Keta and Avu Lagoons.

Almost all communities in the area have, over the years, been relying on perched shallow sandy aquifers for both domestic and agricultural water supplies. These aquifers are tapped by hand-dug wells in every household. However, the sanitary condition around the wellhead and padding in many cases is poor. Despite the fact that these communities are urbanized and as such heavily populated, it is obvious that the vulnerability of these aquifers to pollution from various sources does not daunt most of the inhabitants as domestic waste discharge including sewage and soakaways are constructed without due regard to the fact that they are discharged directly into the aquifer system.

The main objective of this project, therefore, is to assess the vulnerability of the groundwater to pollution as a basis of identifying hotspots and major threats to these aquifers to enable the development of appropriate policy options for better safeguarding of the groundwater resource. In addition, an early warning network can then be established in order to mitigate possible contamination of the water supply aquifers.


Studies of the groundwater resources potential of the Middle Voltaian sediments

Extensive drilling of water supply boreholes has taken place in the Afram Plains and in the Northern Region during the last 10 years but with surprisingly low success rate in spite of intensive use of geophysical prospecting methods. Five successful very deep test boreholes (100-150 m) were drilled by CWSA in 2001 as a research activity funded under the DANIDA water sector programme. The selection of sites for these boreholes was done without any use of geophysical methods, and the very encouraging results indicate that the hitherto applied methods and strategies for selection of sites as well as the depth of drilling in this geological environment needs to be reconsidered.

This research intends to establish a more detailed lithological stratigraphy of the Middle Voltaian sedimentary formations and determine the water bearing capacity (permeability/transmisivity and porosity/storage coefficient) and the hydrochemistry of the individual formations or lithological units as well as their recharge capacity. Another important objective is to determine the resistivity of the individual formations or lithological units aiming to develop the optimal strategy for applying electrical geophysical methods for groundwater prospecting in the Middle Voltaian sedimentary areas.


Mining, Development and Environment

The main focus is to conduct investigations on the interrelationships between mining activities, both large and small (LSM and ASSM), on development at the national, local and/or community levels in almost all the mining areas in the country. Issues of contamination arising from mining are also being seriously looked at, among others.


Geochemistry and Genesis of Mineral Deposits in the Birimian of Ghana

The mining and minerals sector plays a very vital role in the socio-economic development of Ghana. However, the fact that many of such resources are finite suggests the need for continuous research to delineate more reserves so as to keep pace with government’s development goals. We have been conducting active studies into manganese and gold deposits in the country to assist with this objective.


Management of water resources (problems with water supply, quality and distribution, etc.)

Access to potable water for the ever increasing population in Ghana, especially in the urbanised environment, has and continues to present formidable challenges to policy makers. Our teaching and studies over the past few years have focused on urban as well as rural water availability and utilisation. We intend in the end to establish the best possible options as regards water management and, particularly, conservation from catchments to the household level that would, in a way, meet some the challenges posed.


Waste Management (Collaboration with Waste Management Department of AMA)

The Management of waste (solid, liquid, gas) is becoming an insurmountable problem in the country. This problem has been exacerbated by the advent and/or influx of non-easily degradable plastics which litter almost every available space in the cities. Our joint research for the past few years suggests the need for more pro-active and pragmatic approaches to tackle the problem.

Land Reclamation and Associated Problems in Mined-out Areas

Many areas where mining takes place suffer from various forms of environmental degradation especially of land. We have therefore initiated pilot projects to study the best possible ways in which land degraded as a result of mining activities could be reclaimed for use for the benefit of local communities.


Socioeconomic, environmental and policy issues associated with Artisanal/Small Scale Mining (A/SSM) of Diamonds in Akwatia Area, Eastern Ghana

The problems associated with artisanal mining of gold and diamonds in the country unarguably need urgent attention. Our research into various aspects of these problems have brought to the fore some pertinent issues that may have policy implications both in the short- and long-term.


Metacratonic Region at the Eastern Margin of the West African Craton

The area surrounding the stable part of the country, e.g. from around Gomoa Nyanyano towards Teshie and beyond is of particular geological interest primarily because of the seismic (earthquake-prone) activities that are registered every year. In addition, some rocks that occur in the area possibly record important geological episodes globally. It is therefore important that we continue to conduct investigations in these regard.


Precambrian Geology of the Kibi-Winneba Belt in the Birimian of Ghana

The Kibi-Winneba belt, though similar in many respects to the famous Axim-Konongo belt which hosts numerous mines (gold, diamond, manganese, bauxite), is still among the least studied belts in the country. Our aim has been to focus attention on this belt in order to explore its mineralization potential for the benefit of the country.


Design and management of University of Ghana water supply augmentation Project from Groundwater sources

This project is to supplement the existing water supply system to the University of Ghana with groundwater with a network of boreholes in the Botanical Gardens of the University. The project is in its final stages of implementation with the installation of two high capacity pumps which shall pump about 870 m3day-1 additional water to the system.


Project Topic: Geochronological, Geochemical and Sr-Nd-Hf Isotopic Studies of the Bongo-type Granitoids in the Paleoproterozoic Bole–Nangodi Greenstone Belt of Ghana, West Africa

The project involves the petrological, geochemical, geochronological and isotopic studies of the Bongo-type granitoids in the Paleoproterozoic (Birimian) Bole-Nangodi belt in northern Ghana. It is aimed at determining the petrogenesis of the granitoids and infer the tectonic setting in which the rocks were formed. It also seeks to test the hypothesis that the Bongo type granitoids represent late stage plutonism associated with subduction systems. This will enhance our understanding of the geodynamic evolution of Paleoproterozoic Birimian terrane of Ghana and the overall tectonic regime of the West African Craton.

The research implementation will follow an integrated approach of fieldwork, geochemical analyses and isotope-based dating techniques. Analyses to be conducted are whole-rock major and trace elements determination, mineral chemistry, Rb-Sr, Sm–Nd, Lu-Hf isotopic analyses, and zircon U-Pb dating of representative samples. The project also aims to train at least one (1) M.Phil student, whilst some undergraduate students will also benefit from it at various stages.

The research team is made up of geoscientists from the Department of Earth Science-University of Ghana, the Ghana Geological Survey Department, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, and the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This project is funded by the University of Ghana Research Fund (UGRF) with Dr. Patrick Asamoah Sakyi as its Principal Investigator



Areas of Intra-departmental Research

Banoeng-Yakubo, B.

·         National Environmental Impact Assessment Project (EIA)/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) covering most of Ghana.

·         Geological mapping project in parts of Ghana: Hydrogeological Mapping Component (Mining Sector Support Programme funded project).

·         Baseline environmental data collection of the groundwater system to support the preparation of an environmental impact statement.

·         Design and management of University of Ghana water supply augmentation project from

groundwater sources.

·         Baseline Environmental Impact Assessment of the Akyem Gold Property.

·         Groundwater development consultancy for Volta Region Community Water and Sanitation Project (VRCWSP).

·         Training of Hydrogeologists and MIS Staff in Geographical Information System (GIS) for Volta Region Community Water and Sanitation Agency.

·         Assessment of Pollution Status in Water Supply Aquifers in African Cities.

Kutu, J. M.

·         The petrogenesis, lithotectonic evolution and genesis of sulphide-gold mineralization in the Birimian Supergroup in the Konongo district of the Ashanti Belt.

·         Study into the evaluation of the potential of some areas of the Cape Coast granitoid complex in Ghana.

·         Comparative study of the genesis of the amphibolites in the Birimian and Dahomeyan

lithotectonic units in Ghana.

Nude, P.

·         Petrologic and geochemical studies of alkaline rocks and carbonatite in the Dahomeyides of southeastern Ghana.

·         The nature of columbite tantalite mineralization in Akim Oda, Saltpond and Mankwadze districts of Ghana.

·         Significance of regolith classification and its implication for gold exploration at Tinga and Kunche in Northern Ghana.

Asiedu, D. K.

·         Geochemical investigation into fine-grained Precambrian sedimentary rocks of Ghana.

·         Study into the evaluation of the potential of some areas of the Cape Coast granitoid complex in Ghana.

·         Geochemical, stable isotope and hydraulic relationships in some selected coastal wetland systems in Ghana.

Nyame, F. K.

·         Mining, Development and Environment (Collaborations with Dr. Gavin Hilson of Manchester University, UK, and Dr. J. Andrew Grant of Queens University, Canada).

·         Geochemistry and genesis of mineral deposits in the Birimian of Ghana.

·         Management of water resources (problems with water supply, quality and distribution, etc.)

·         Regional soil geochemical sampling in selected areas in Ghana (EU-Ghana Gov’t Geological Mapping Project).

Hayford, E. K.

·         Thermochronology: The use of neutron activator in rock dating and in the search of petroleum.

·         Water and carbon fluxes in the hydrologic system: The use of the isotopes to determine water balance for rivers and lakes, and the application of water balance equations.

·         Vein system in the Birimian Formation.

Atta-Peters, D.

·         Study of palynomorphs from exploratory oil well in the Tano and Keta basins.

·         Petrographic and palynological study of the lower Cretaceous Essikado Sandstone formation of western Ghana.

·         A review of the classification schemes proposed for the Voltaian Basin sediments on the West African craton.

Akabzaa, T. M.

·         Retained earnings of mineral revenues to national and local economies in mineral endowed African countries.

·         Study of Global Initiatives in the Mining Sector – Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative(EITI), Extractive Industry Review (EIR), Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development (MMSD), Global Mining Initiative (GMI) etc.

·         Impacts of mineral policy and legislation on mining sector investment in mineral resource endowed African countries.

·         Efficiency and clean production technologies in artisanal and small scale mining in Ghana.

·         Studies of critical parameters in mining projects profitability.

·         Computing environmental cost of mining in relation to GDP.

·         Gender dimensions of urban water supply to poor suburbs.

·         Social and corporate accountability issues in mining projects.

·         Effectiveness of financial instruments in mining environmental management.

Armah, T. E. K.

·         Groundwater salinity in crystalline basement terrains in parts of southern Ghana.

·         Investigations of elevated fluoride levels in groundwater in parts of the Northern Region of Ghana.

·         Investigation on improved methods for groundwater exploration in the Voltaian terrains in parts of the Northern Region of Ghana.


·         Impacts of mining activities on the environment.

·         Water balance and hydrogeological studies in sedimentary and crystalline basement rocks.

·         Assessment of pollution status and vulnerability of water supply aquifers of Keta, Ghana.

·         Studies of the groundwater resource potential of the Middle Voltaian sediments.

·         Petrological, mineralogical and geochemical study of Paleoproterozoic granitoids in Ghana.

·         Depositional environments, paleoclimate and provenance of the Sekondian Group.

·         Acid Mine Drainage potential and metal leaching possibilities of rocks of the Ashanti Belt and for ground and surface water vulnerability in these areas.

·         Study of fluoride and arsenic status in basement terrains in Northern Ghana, including exploration search for appropriate filtering technologies.

·         Geochemistry of volcanic and related rocks in the Buem Structural Unit of SE Ghana.