Cameroon Mining – A Developing Industry
Minerals: Bauxite, gold, limestone, cobalt, granite, iron ore, nepheline syenite, nickel and rutile
Independence: 1 January 1960
Area: 475,442 km2
Mining fact: Even though Cameroon has vast mineral resources, it is not yet extensively mined
Until mid-2008, Cameroon had no history of industrial mining. The southeast region of Cameroon has a few active mineral deposits and some with near-term production potential. The terrain mainly consists of granite-rich ground with areas that have an abundance of ultramafic rocks, which are a source of cobalt and nickel. Alluvial gold is mainly mined by artisanal miners.
History of Cameroon Mining
From 1981 until 1986, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) discovered and investigated deposits rich in cobalt, nickel, manganese and iron laterite as well as several nickel deposits in southeast Cameroon. This was a project in which the UNDP collaborated with Cameroon’s Ministry of Mines, Water and Energy with the goal of ascertaining the mineral potential in the region. Because of the remote location and low nickel prices, the discoveries were not explored to their full potential. Only in 2003, increasing prices for industrial minerals and metals began encouraging companies to develop mines in Cameroon. Unfortunately, this is a slow process because of political interference and taxation.
Bauxite Mining in Cameroon
From mid-2008 bauxite has not been mined in Cameroon. It has, however, been shipped to Cameroon from across the globe to be smelted in Edéa in Cameroon’s Littoral province where it is processed using hydro-electric power and exported.
Limestone Mining in Cameroon
Over four million tons of limestone is mined and produced in Cameroon every year. Prices have not increased in recent years, however, because of the stagnation of the price of cement. Local producers believe the reason behind this to be the price of clinker, which is an imported raw material made from limestone.Cobalt Mining in Cameroon
In 2003, a mining permit that covers the cobalt-rich area in southeast Cameroon was granted to GeoCam. The area is arguably the largest cobalt resource in the world.
Diamond Mining in Cameroon
One of Cameroon’s main diamond deposits is located in its east. Although a company called C&K Mining established the Mobilong mine, setting up camp and mining equipment, legal action stopped mining operations, and the deposit has been under evaluation since 2016.
Gold Mining in Cameroon
The Cameroon government says that it has some 140 identified sites with gold deposits. Most of these deposits are situated in the eastern part of the country and are mainly mined by small-scale artisans who produce around 20,000 kilograms of gold per year. However, it is estimated that most of this gold is smuggled out of the country to avoid taxes.
Mining Companies Operating in Cameroon
Even though Cameroon’s mining sector is not yet fully developed, there are several mining companies operating in the country, including:
- Bertoua Savanna Local Miners
- Bekora Miners
- MarcG Mining Company
- Secam Local Miners Co. Ltd.
- Bonas Gold Miners
- New Mining Cameroon SA
- Edocamines Ltd.
- Precious Metals and Stones Limited
- Funcha Local Gold Miners