Stakeholders say the mining convention for the multibillion Mbalam Iron Ore project that the government of Cameroon and the executing firm, Cam Iron signed on November 29, 2012 was a significant step in the project’s execution.

It allows the firm and its partners to source for financing after which it will be given a mining license.

It was indeed a sigh of relieve as after so many years of exploration and negotiation with its financial, legal and mining advises on one hand and the company on another, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. With an overall cost estimated at 8.7 billion dollars (about FCFA 4,350 billion), focus of the project among others is on its socio-economic impact to the state and the local population.

The ceremony to sign the mining convention was presided by the Chairman of the project’s Steering Committee, Louis Paul Motaze, Secretary General at the Prime minister’s office. It was also an occasion to clarify issues on the rights and obligation of each party, notably what would be done during the construction phase, hygiene rules, the security and protection of the environment and cultural heritage as well as on how the population that will be affected by the project will be treated.

The mining Convention signed for the government of Cameroon by the Minister of Mines, Industry and Technological Development, Emmanuel Bonde and for Cam Iron by its President, Guilio Losello, engaged the two parties to create direct and indirect jobs and improve the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

It is worth noting that the Mbalam Iron Ore Project straddles the border of the Republic of Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. The project proposes development of mines in both countries which together will produce 35 million tonnes per annum. The company will construct a 510-km rail line dedicated to the transport of iron ore from the Mbalam mine to the Cameroon coast with a 70-km rail spur line to connect to the Nabeba mine in Congo as well as build a deep water iron ore export terminal in Lolabe-Kribi which will be capable of taking bulk “China Max” iron ore carriers.

The next step in the project’s execution will be the deliverance of a mining license and this will be after the mobilization of the finances.                                                            

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