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Pioneering Contribution to Geology in Ghana – Mrs. Alexandra Amoako-Mensah’s Legacy in Lithium Discovery

Mrs. Alexandra Amoako-Mensah’s remarkable contributions to the field of geology, particularly to the discovery of lithium in Ghana, will forever be a notable chapter in the nation’s illustrious mining history. Her relentless pursuit to defy societal norms and provide invaluable insights into geology has set a precedent that continues to inspire many.

Keith Muller, the Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Lithium, lauds her efforts, stating, “Mrs. Amoako-Mensah’s work has been instrumental in creating substantial opportunities and prosperity for the people of the Central Region, and for Ghana more broadly.”

Breaking Barriers in a Male-Dominated Field

In the 1960s, Ghana’s geological sector, like many of its time, was heavily dominated by men. This did not deter a young and determined Mrs. Amoako-Mensah, then known as Alexandra Afful, from embarking on a challenging career in geology. Her academic dedication not only paved the way for the discovery of significant lithium deposits but also shattered gender barriers, offering a beacon of motivation for women in science.

Born in 1940 in Takoradi to parents from Apam, Mrs. Amoako-Mensah’s fascination with geology was ignited early by her geography teachers at Wesley Girls’ High School. Despite skepticism from her peers about her fit in the industry, her family’s unwavering support fueled her ambition.

Academic Journey and Groundbreaking Research

Mrs. Amoako-Mensah’s academic journey took her to St. Petersburg State University on a scholarship where she honed her expertise in geology. Returning to Ghana in 1966 with a Master of Science degree, she joined the Ghana Geological Survey and later advanced her studies at Leeds University under the mentorship of Professor Shackleton.

Her thesis on the mineralogy and geochemistry of spodumene pegmatites in Saltpond, Ghana, completed in 1971, laid the groundwork for lithium exploration in the region. This research became crucial decades later, identifying Ghana as a significant player in the global lithium market.

From Research to Realization: Ewoyaa Lithium Project

The potential of Mrs. Amoako-Mensah’s early work was realized when Len Kolff, a geologist reviewing West Africa’s Birimian terrain for Atlantic Lithium, stumbled upon her thesis. This led to the launch of the Ewoyaa Lithium Project, which is now poised to establish Ghana as a major lithium producer.

In 2018, the project marked its first official lithium discovery, a testament to the foundational work laid by Mrs. Amoako-Mensah. Her initial mappings and analyses provided critical insights that guided subsequent explorations and drilling operations.

Legacy and Ongoing Impact

Now, over fifty years since her pioneering thesis, Mrs. Amoako-Mensah witnessed the transformation her work brought to the geology and mining sectors during a visit to the Ewoyaa site. The project, expected to commence production soon, promises to generate significant economic benefits for Ghana, creating over 800 jobs and contributing nearly US$5 billion to the local economy over its lifetime.

Mrs. Amoako-Mensah’s story is not just about geological discovery; it’s a narrative of perseverance, pioneering spirit, and the enduring impact of breaking new ground for women in science.

Honoring a Trailblazer

In recognition of her outstanding contributions and to inspire future generations, the Best Graduating Female Student in Geology at the University of Ghana is awarded in her honor. As construction of the Ewoyaa Lithium Project begins, her legacy continues to influence the field of geology and the socio-economic landscape of Ghana.

 

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