Cameroon: Geologists, Dr. Mafany Teke say 300 new mineral sites are not yet ripe for economic exploitation

Par Atia T. AZOHNWI | Cameroon-Info.Net
BUEA - 16-Jul-2019 - 15h05   4547                      
Dr. Mafany Teke, Cameroon-born geologist Atia Azohnwi
Over 300 mining sites were discovered in the East, West, North, Centre and Adamaoua regions within the last five years. The minerals discovered on these sites are extensive. They range from gold, zinc, rare earth, uranium, nickel and rutile to manganese.

Dr. George Mafany Teke, Geologist and South West Regional Delegate of Scientific Research and Innovation, MINRESI, has said the over 300 new discoveries were made during exploration operations organized within the framework of the project Projet de reinforcement des capacités dans le secteur minier (Precasem) funded by the World Bank Group to boost the country’s mining sector.

The Cameroonian-born world class geologist who also lectures at the University of Buea says the minerals recently discovered are not economically minable.

He is quoted as saying that “the 300 new discoveries are within the range of the inferred and indicated mineral deposits”.  The inferred mineral resources, according to him, means the area that has been studied have traces of the mineral but does not permit any conclusion because the geological knowledge is very low, while indicated resources points to the fact that the number of geological confidence is increasing, which means more scientific studies have been done to indicate that the area has minerals.

The native of Small Soppo authoritatively said Cameroon is still at the exploration phase and mining will only take off after the exploration would have been narrowed.

“It is not only the geology that determines the economic profitability of the resources; you have other modifying factors like the mining method, social component, the political and environmental climate,” he expounded.

Recent findings after five years of work by the World Bank and the Ministry in charge of mines, the discovery of over 300 new mineral occurrences in Cameroon were announced recently. Through Aeromagnetic and gravimetic surveys followed by geochemical and geological studies with over 18,0000 samples collected, significant occurrences of diverse minerals ranging from gold, zinc, rare earth, uranium, nickel and rutile to manganese and many others were identified in five regions of the country. Before September the number of new occurrences as per estimates by the World Bank will largely exceed 500 in the five regions while awaiting final results from two other regions.

Details of this great discovery, the largest since independence will be made available by the World Bank sponsored project Precasem in the 3rd edition of the Cameroon International, Investment Mining and Exhibition Conference from September 2-4, 2019. It will be an opportunity to showcase Cameroon’s computerized mining cadastre and the above mentioned discoveries.

These new mineral discoveries add up to the already great existing potential with Cameroon hosting the main part of the Central African Iron Ore Belt that stretches from  Congo through Gabon to Cameroon along which are found  World class iron ore deposits like the Mbalam (Sundance of Australia), the Nkot  iron deposit (Caminex) the  mamelles iron ore of Kribi (Sinosteel of China), the largest lateritic Cobalt- deposit in the world at Lomie (Geovic) the Rutile of Akonolinga, the 2nd largest bauxite reserves in Africa (Minim martap).

 “If an exploration company sets up a base in an area, most of the people it uses are the local people and it brings in money that is left in the community; they gain employment and standard of living increases. Some companies have medical facilities in their exploration camps that are sometimes opened to the public. When it is upscale to mining, royalties will be paid to the communities. This may be in the form of employment, infrastructural development, capacity building etc,” Dr. Mafany Teke is quoted as saying.


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