A consortium of Ex-students from Australia and the Action Group on Governance and Environment Management AGGEM a Nongovernmental Organization based in Bamenda say several minerals have been neglected in the western highlands of Cameroon specifically in the North West region. 

Presenting a project in Bamenda Tuesday titled “promotion of Multi-stakeholder engagement or the respect of environment, community engagement, health and safety requirements in neglected development mineral operations in Western Highlands of Cameroon.” Sharon Negsang Andigema and  Ngang Eric Ndeh Mboumien , Chair and Co- Chair of the project told many who should up at the project research presentation that “neglected development minerals NDM operations are a contributor to addressing local poverty and achieving sustainable development. He however added that “effective environment, health, safety and community engagement must be respected to avoid solving a problem and creating a myriad of others.

Citing gravel, sand limestone, clay, sapphires; marble which are currently serving as a cornerstone to infrastructural development Ngang observed; “The government of Cameroon has realized the importance of this sector currently characterize by artisanal, small scale and informal operators is keen on regulating the sector especially through the passing in law of a business friendly mining code in December 2016.” In addition he added “Cameroon along counterpart African states adopted the Africa Mining Vision in 2009 which is the continent wide vision for using its mineral aim, trough harnessing the potential of artisanal and small scale mining to encourage local entrepreneurship and enhance socio-economic development.” 

Addressing issues of sustainability and ethics around the mining of the neglected minerals,  Dr Alain Isoh lecturer ICT University presented a survey on both the formal and informal actors in the field. According to the survey, the mining of these neglected development minerals is characterized by lack for ethics with non-respect of cooperate social responsibility and safety measures outstanding. Dr Isoh who is also Research personnel AGGEM expressed the need for environmental consciousness in project   

He recommended ethical mining as a standard way of entrepreneurship around the world. Several organizations that participated resolved at the close of the gathering resolved to partner on a platform and engage projects that can better protect the neglecting minerals in the region.
The board chairman of AGGEM Mukam Henry encouraged all the stakeholders in the mining of neglected development minerals to involve women with the appropriate technical skill insisting that there are several women with expertise that can be very relevant in the sector. 

If properly harnessed, it is expected that the area can constitute a major revenue source. "In the NWR for example suggest that, 100 per cent of sand mining is artisanal in some big rivers like Mezam etc, and it is estimated that over 2,000 people directly involved in the sand dredging. The price of sand varies according to the quality and weather conditions and distance to the site of construction. The price varies from FCFA 135,000 to FCFA 175,000 for a 20-ton truck. During the raining season it can even go up to FCFA 200,000." Ngang Eric confirms.  

This is same with the quarry sector that is witnessing the coming of mechanised operators. The price of a 20-ton truck could go up to 140000FCA. The sector currently has over 1000 artisanal miners and nationally, about 11 companies have been issued either exploitation or research titles in the NDM sector with many operations in the sector being illegal this is according to the reports from Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development (MINMINDT 2016) Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO 2013) and the Extractive Industries Initiative (EITI  2013)."  

The project which focused mainly on the environment, community engagement, health and safety considerations in and around the operations was a joint effort of ex-students from Australian University who had benefited from Australian government scholarships and fellowships under the community of practice on the focus areas with obligations in the neglected development mineral sector (cop ecehs).
Derick BAKAH

Derick BAKAH

Bakah Derick is a Broadcast Presenter and Multimedia specialist with focus on sharing with the rest of the world the daily happenings in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. You can contact us on +237 675460750 or debakah2004@gmail.com.

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