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Mineral Resources Yet To Contribute To Cameroon 

By Leocadia Bongben

CameroonPostline.com — Despite the huge potential in mineral resources, the sector is yet to contribute meaningful to the development of Cameroon. It is it against this backdrop that the maiden Cameroon International Mining Conference dubbed CIMEC 2013, is holding in Yaoundefrom May 29-31. Presently, the mining sector contributes only about one percent to the national budget, which is still mainly from artisanal mining from 40 percent explored territory.

The Secretary of State at the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Calistus Gentry Fru, has attributed the limited contribution of the mining sector to the budget to absence of analytical laboratories among others. Besides, there is the challenge of taking care of artisanal mining in relation to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme – the institution of traceability chain for diamond from extraction to exportation. 

A study conducted by Willy Cedric Foumena and Napoleon Bamendjo under the banner of the Network for the Fight against Hunger, RELUFA, indicates that access to the market and the socio-economic conditions under which the miners work are chaotic. Henceforth, goods leaving Cameroon through its airports would have a special seal. This would be done in collaboration with the Kimberly Process, Gentry said. The CIMEC 2013 organised by the Ministry of Mines and Technological Development intends to explore avenues of sustainable mining. 

The conference which brings together about 400 participants would be a platform to attract new investors, incite interest in subsidiary mining activities – laboratory analysis and drilling and make Cameroon a new mining destination in the region. Groundwork has been laid with the introduction of the 2001 mining code amended in 2010, availability of baseline strategy and geological data from intensive exploration and mining inventories. The number of permits granted is increasing with 167 mining research permits already granted to companies.

With the going mining projects, the Mballam iron ore mine is expected to produce 35 million tons of iron ore per year, though still sourcing for finances, and diamond reserves estimated at 450 million carats among others. The government is putting measures in place to ensure transparency and avoid conflicts in the sector by striving to become an EITI compliant country by August 2013.

First published in The Post print edition no 01434

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