(Business in Cameroon) - On the night of May 18 to 19, 2021, 30 kilograms of gold were seized at the Yaoundé-Nsimalen international airport, official sources reveal.
Customs authorities provided no additional detail on the origin of that gold but the seizure revives debates about gold trafficking in Cameroon. According to official sources, barely 5% of the national gold production enters the formal circuits. For instance, in H1-2019, the national formal production was 224.6 kg, the Ministry of Mining reveals. Year-on-year, the production was down by 30.4% compared with the 448.2 kg produced in H1- 2018. In 2018, the national production was also down year-on-year by 37.1% compared with the H1-2017 production, the same source adds.
Because of this preponderance of informal gold trades, Cameroon is not considered a gold producer or exporter.
Even the central bank BEAC wrote that in the CEMAC region, only the Central African Republic and Gabon are gold producers and exporters. Yet, in Cameroon, several licensed gold mining companies operate in the Eastern region along the thousands of artisanal miners.
Years ago, to end gold trafficking on the national territory, Cameroon created the Artisan Mining Support and Promotion Framework (CAPAM). However, credible sources believe that the support framework will cease to exist with the creation (in December 2020) of the National Mining Corporation (SONAMINES), which is Cameroon's secular arm in mining exploration.