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Minim-Martap and Ngaoundal bauxite deposits: New estimates could make them the largest deposits in the world

Minim-Martap and Ngaoundal bauxite deposits: New estimates could make them the largest deposits in the world
  • Comments   -   Tuesday, 18 February 2020 16:59

(Business in Cameroon) - Australian junior mining company Canyon Resources recently delivered the first results of the final exploration phase (launched in September 2018) of Minim-Martap and Ngaoundal bauxite deposits in northern Cameroon.

Camalco (Cameroonian subsidiary of Canyon Resources) identified 65 bauxite plateaux. Added to the 14 plateaux identified by Cameroon Alumina (CAL), former holder of the exploration permits on the Minim-Martap, Ngaoundal and Makan deposits, this brings the total number of bauxite-bearing plateaux to 79.

According to Camalco, a more refined analysis of 16 of the 79 identified plateaux increases the potential of the Minim-Martap and Ngaoundal bauxite deposit to 892 million tons. This includes 250 million tons of high-grade bauxite, ideal for aluminium production.

The new potential estimated by Canyon Resources and its subsidiary Camalco is 342 million tons higher than the 550 million tons previously estimated by CAL (a consortium formed by American Hydromine, Emirati Dubal Alumina, and Indian Hindalco).

According to James Durrant, head of the Minim-Martap and Ngaoundal bauxite exploration project at Canyon Resources, analysis of the remaining 63 plateaux should bring the deposit's potential to about 2 billion tons. This would “probably” make them “the largest deposits in the world, both in quantity and quality,” he says.

Mining challenges

This information, revealed during a field trip, on February 13-14, 2020, overlaps with the statement made on April 12, 2019, by Phillip Gallagher, CEO of Canyon Resources, in an interview with the British platform Proactiv Investors. “The Minim-Martap project has the potential to become one of the world's largest and richest bauxite deposits and is located close to operational and accessible rail infrastructure,” Gallagher said.

Based on the new results, Canyon Resources is planning to begin mining the Minim-Martap and Ngaoundal bauxite by 2022. In that regard, the Australian junior mining company plans to build a 20 km road that will connect various mining sites to Makor in Adamaoua.

Then, from this locality, the ore will be transported by rail to the port of Douala or Kribi for export. But before all these can happen, the thorny question of financing what could become the very first industrial-scale mining project in Cameroon's history must first be resolved. 

Brice R. Mbodiam

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