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ARTISANAL MINING : Government Announces Operation Reforms

The acting interim Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development (Minmdit) Fuh Calistus Gentry, has sent a correspondence to the regional delegates and departmental delegates of his ministerial department to formalize the semi-mechanized artisanal mining activities.

The correspondence made in may says that, “Cameroonians will henceforth request and obtain permits for artisanal exploitation in the strict measures and subcontract to technical and financial partners. The latter are rather engaged in semi-mechanized artisanal mining activities, in violation of the law of December 14, 2016 on the mining code,”.

To reverse the trend, the member of government plans to carry out a vast census operation in the coming days of all craft permits that are exploited under this category. It will be a question for holders of these permits to submit an application file for a semi-mechanized artisanal authorization, in order to obtain the necessary authorizations for the continuation of their activities. Eligible operators will be issued a rehabilitation and work stoppage report at the end of the previous operation.

Fuh Calistus Gentry deplores the semi-mechanized artisanal mining activities, the non-rehabilitation of sites after exploitation after exploitation, the deviation of river beds, the exploitation of mines without safety measures, very often consequences of loss of human life during landslides. On this subject, the NGO Foder, has recorded 202 deaths between 2014 and 2022 in the Eastern regions, and Adamawa.

For Samuel Nguiffo, Secretary General of the Center for the Environment and Development (CED), the operation “aims to clean up this sector by trying to conduct a census of all artisanal permits that are operated in a semi-mechanized way. This is an interesting first step to have full control of operations on its territory and to have better control of production activities, to monitor environmental and social impacts,” said the latter in an interview with Cameroon Business Today.

The operation announced at the Ministry of Mines, will allow the government to see more clearly on the problem of subcontracting operating permits in order to better control production and be more efficient in collecting taxes. In a 2021 report, interpol indicated that official production and export statistics are limited or negligible in Cameroon. There are large disparities between official production figures and estimates. Moreover, the export figures do not correspond to the quantities of gold leaving the region. According to the organization cited by Eiti, “the official artisanal gold production collected by legal supply means was at 701 kg in 2017. For the same year, the United States Geological Survey (Usgs), an American government scientific agency estimated Cameroon’s annual artisanal gold production capacity at 2,000 kg48”.

The government aims to have a stranglehold on this sector by the end of the reforms made to restructure the exploitation of mines in Cameroon.

Sorelle Ninguem

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