Mining industry of Cameroon

Mining industry of Cameroon


Cameroon Overview

Cameroon has a total area of approximately 475 thousand square kilometers, a coastline of some 400 kilometers, and a population approaching 19 million people.[1]


Mining History

As of April 2008, Cameroon has no industrial mining history. Cameroon’s undeveloped mineral resources include bauxite, cobalt, gold from lode deposits, granite, iron ore, nepheline syenite, nickel, and rutile. Strong metal and industrial mineral prices since 2003 have encouraged companies to develop mines. The Nkamouna enriched cobalt-nickel-manganese-iron laterite deposits and several other nickeliferous laterite deposits in southeast Cameroon were first discovered and investigated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) during 1981-1986, in a cooperative project with the Cameroon Ministry of Mines, Water and Energy to evaluate mineral potential in southeastern Cameroon. Due to the remote location and the low nickel prices at the time, the discovery did not draw much attention. No further exploration took place on the property until geologist William Buckovic became aware of the nickel discovery in 1988.[2]

The southeast region and nearby regions in Gabon, Republic of the Congo, and Central African Republic have few producing mineral deposits and few with near-term production potential. Most of this region is underlain by Proterozoic granite-gneiss-schist terrains. Within the region, ultramafic rocks, the original source of the cobalt and nickel, are confined to the project area. There has been no previous production of minerals from the project area.[citation needed]

Alluvial gold is artisanally exploited from stream gravels in parts of Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, and Central African Republic. However, the U.S. Geological Survey’s 2002 estimate for total gold production from all four countries combined is less than 1,600 kilograms, or less than 50,000 ounces per year. The portion of this yield from within a 300-km radius of the Geovic Project is likely on the order of 20,000 ounces per year, a relatively insignificant amount by international comparisons. In the southwest part of the Central African Republic, alluvial gold is accompanied by small quantities of alluvial diamonds in streams which drain Cretaceous sandstone and conglomerates exposed further east. The Cretaceous formations do not extend into Cameroon.[3]

Geology of Cameroon

Cameroon Mining Laws & Regulations




Bauxite (Aluminum-bearing ore)

As of April 2008, bauxite is not mined in Cameroon; it is only refined. The raw material is shipped from around the world to a smelter in Edéa where a supply of hydro-electric power is available for processing. The refined metal is exported globally.


Limestone production in 2004 was 290,000 metric tons.


A Mining Permit was decreed in favor of GeoCam in 2003 that covers the entire cobalt mineral province in southeastern Cameroon, perhaps the largest primary cobalt resource in the world.



Gold yielded an estimated 1500 kg in 2004 and was produced by small-scale artisanal miners, mostly in the eastern part of the country.

Iron Ore



Current projects

Cobalt, Nickel & Manganese Project

References and footnotes

  1. ^ CIA World Factbook.
  2. ^ UNDP Project CMR/81/005).
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey, 2002.

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