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33 Mining Permits Encroach Into Conservation Areas 

By Leocadia Bongben
— A World Wild Fund for Nature, WWF-Cameroon report has revealed that 33 mining permits the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development issued from 2009-2011, are overlapping into conservation areas. The report was presented to Science Journalists at the WWF Cameroon Country Office in Bastos on August 3.

Hoyle, WWF Cameroon Conservation Director

The presentation was within the framework of exploring new frontiers for collaboration between WWF Cameroon and the Cameroon Association of Science Journalists and Communicators, Scilife. WWF Conservation Director, David Hoyle, told The Post that WWF Cameroon got 120 mining permits the Ministry of Mines issued from 2009-2011, plotted them on the map and overlaid them with protected areas of Cameroon.

It was discovered that 33 exploration permits were granted inside 16 protected areas, which include the Korupt National Park, Bouba Njida, Campo Ma’an and Nki and Lobeke. The implication of the overlapping is that there is confusion, lack of coordination between ministries, and conflicts. This is because it is illegal for mining permits to be given out in protected areas in the mining and forestry codes.

Hoyle maintained that it happened by accident, due to lack of coordination and communication. 
With the findings, WWF Cameroon has called on the Government to re-delimit the boundaries so that areas overlapping the parks are removed.

“Companies registered at the New York or London Stock Exchange coming to invest in Cameroon would not want conflicts and when they discover that they have been given the reserves like the Dja, Campo Ma’an, this spoils their business image.”   These companies have started asking Government to remove the areas overlapping from the permits, the WWF Conservation Director said.

Government’s vision 2035 is going to succeed if there is proper planning and communication and the ministries well coordinated, he suggested. Mining can live hand-in-hand with protected areas if coordinated and WWF is striving to promote development, conservation and the achievement of gaols, he added.

WWF Cameroon is involved in the management of more than 10 national parks and supports more than 50 community forest initiatives since its office opened in 1990. The WWF Cameroon-Scilife collaboration seeks to stimulate the conservation debate and create awareness in the public and for policy makers to make good management decisions.

“We can have a very symbiotic relationship, when we have information that the world needs to hear about or things to ask for, the media can play the role and the media need stories, so we thought if we stay in our separate houses we would never share ideas and stories. We have a common goal of getting certain information out to the public”, Hoyle he stated.

Scilife President, Dora Shey, appreciated the collaboration and, on behalf of Scilife, took the commitment to make the collaboration better. “WWF has the information and we have the channel to disseminate the information,” she said. Science journalists were welcomed to WWF by the National Country Director, Basile Yapo.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01364


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