(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon’s National Mining Company (Sonamines), through its Director-General Serge Boyogueno, signed on 18 February 2022, a memorandum of understanding with China Railways No. 5 Engineering Group Co (CREC 5). Thanks to the MoU, CREC5, a subsidiary of China Railways Group Ltd., will support Sonamines in the development of bauxite deposits in Ngaoundal and Makan, Adamaoua.
"Cameroon has three world-class bauxite deposits in Adamaoua (Minim-Martap, Ngaoundal, and Makan). Their combined resources are [currently] estimated at one billion tons. In July 2018, Cameroon awarded three exploration permits covering those deposits to a mining operator [ Ed.note: Australian firm Canyon Resources] for a 3-year, non-renewable period. The three permits expired on July 11, 2021, and the operator applied for a mining permit, from the Ministry of Mines, covering one of the three permits [Ed. note: Minim-Martap]. In November 2021, Sonamines, the state representative and operational arm in the mining sector, then applied for research permits covering the remaining two deposits,” explains Serge Hervé Boyogueno.
According to the Director-General, this MoU will lead to a consortium between Chinese state firms specialized in mining, industrial and commercial sectors for the development of the mining projects concerned. It will also facilitate the completion of exploration works with the elaboration of a bankable feasibility study and an environmental impact study as well as the exploitation of bauxite, the construction of a refinery for the transformation of bauxite into alumina, the construction of a plant for the transformation of alumina into aluminum, and finally the construction of a plant for the transformation of aluminum into by-products (sheet metal, electric cables, etc.. ).
"After this MoU, binding agreements that are the last step before the actual commencement of works at the deposits will follow. All these are subjected to the obtention of all the relevant permits," stresses the Sonamines Director-General.
Thanks to that partnership with Chinese operators, Sonamines (established on December 14, 2020) could quickly become a mining operator in Cameroon and also a major player in the heavy industry.
Brice R. Mbodiam