|Dr. Fuh Calistus Gentry|
With just 40% of its mineral resources explored this far, such a laboratory, experts say, would help the country better explore its mineral reserves and facilitate the analysis by mining companies of their finds.
Above all, the laboratory would be a lucrative source of income for the government.
“As soon as that will become effective, it will serve as a great booster to the development and exploitation of our minerals,” According to Dr Fuh Calistus Gentry, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Mines Industries and Technological Development.
“We used to wait for at least two months to get the results of the analysis of our samples of rocks and minerals because these samples were taken abroad. But as soon as these laboratories are implanted here in Cameroon, we will get the results within 48 hours”, Dr Fuh adds.
The government official also said the ministry was also encouraging other laboratories to set up shop in Cameroon so the country’s remaining 60% of unexplored mineral potential will be exposed.
Besides the putting in place of the laboratory, the participants also recommended amongst others that in order for the mining sector to create an impact, there is need to encourage a public-private partnership.
The participants also advocated for the setting up of a follow up committee on the resolutions of the three-day reflection on how the country’s enormous mineral resources could be transformed into opportunities for development.
They want the promotion of geological and mineral resources potentials of Cameroon towards national and international economic operators reinforced and insist that environmental norms are respected by mineral sector operators throughout the phases of their activities.
Cameroon, the centre for initiation of mining negotiations
Commenting to reporters at the end of the three-day forum, the president of the organizing committee, also secretary of state in the Ministry of Mines Industries and Technological Development said “the major outcome of this forum is that we had mining companies, analytical laboratories, drilling companies operators from France, USA, UK, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Australia, China, Switzerland, South Africa and together with all the stakeholders, we took resolutions at the end of our three-day brainstorming to make Cameroon the centre for initiation of mining negotiations in West and Central Africa.”
“I believe that in 2015 when the next edition comes on, it shall be a bigger event to celebrate the achievements which we have had today. The government through our ministry will stop at nothing to spearhead such initiatives because Cameroon deserves this position based on its rich mineral potentials which we have exposed over the days. We believe that after this event, this country will bring the rest of Africa in the next two years because we have all the ingredients especially with our status of a bilingual country. We are centrally located in Central Africa with good infrastructures and we believe that we have succeeded to make Cameroon the hope for mining negotiations in Black Africa through CIMEC 2013
With the building of the railway from Mbalam to Kribi, countries like Gabon and Congo for example will soon be served. The government has done a lot to take mining to higher heights through the amended mining code, CAPAM to guide artisanal miners, PRECASSEM to reinforce the capacity and ameliorate the mining cadastral, Kimberley Process to ensure traceability of Cameroon diamond and efforts made to enable Cameroon become a compliant country of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI by August this year.”
The minister explained that with major bauxite deposits identified in Minim-Martap and Ngaoundere, alumina refinery construction is imminent.
Cameroon is destined to be major iron ore producer and the hub of Central African iron ore chain with her Mbalam Iron Ore project, Nkout Iron Ore project, Mamelles-Kribi Iron Ore and the Eseka-Ngoyang area where there is promising iron ore reserve.
He equally explained that Cameroon seeks to develop its gold exploration campaign and to become a major global producer of cobalt with its reserves in Kondong, Mada, Messea, Nkamouna, North Mang, Rapodjombo and South Mang areas.
Uranium exploration is underway in the Kitongo deposit and the Lolodorf deposit. He stressed on diamond in Libongo which lies adjacent to the Mobilong deposit. Limestone and marble are reported to have been found mainly in the northern and southern parts of the country.