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Cameroon's booming small-scale gold miners

Cameroon's booming small-scale gold miners


Cameroon is one of the few gold-rich countries in Africa that is keen to tap the rare natural resource and kick start its economy.

Currently, Cameroon gold is mainly mined by small-scale artisans. In fact, according to the government, the estimate of small-scale artisanal mining produced about 16,653 kgs of gold between 2010 and 2015.

Gold mining in Cameroon can be traced back to 1930 during the colonial administration. Records show that when it reached its peak (in the 1940s), gold mining contributed about 20% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

After independence, political interference slowed down commercial mining in the country. Most of the gold was being mined by small-scale artisans and sold in clandestine markets. Today the small-scale artisanal mining contributes about 95% of all the gold mined in the country.

According to the government, Cameroon has about 140 identified gold deposits, majority of which are mined by artisanal miners.

But there are challenges.

Cameroon has struggled with how to manage the mining in the country, primarily related to taxation of the resource.

The government estimates than the majority of the gold currently being mined by artisanal miners is being smuggled out of the country by traffickers who sell it in other countries to avoid paying taxes.

The country is also struggling to manage its growing mining industry and finding a way to ensure that commercial mining operations also pay their share of revenue to the government.

Officials however say they have put new measures which will bring order to the country’s mining sector.