Cameroon's Development Potential
Environmentek has more than 10 years' working experience in the Central and West African region - most recently in Cameroon, where it supported the oil and gas sector. In this respect, there was close collaboration with a Cameroon partner, CIME Consulting. Apart from environmental impact assessments (EIAs) commissioned by multinational oil companies, the CSIR has also produced the country's National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, which was financed by the World Bank. These activities have introduced the CSIR to all of the key Ministries within the country, thereby ensuring our good reputation with the government.
The Cameroon government is aware of the country's significant mineral wealth, and that through mining-centred sustainable development, this can be transformed into social, economic and infrastructure capital to benefit its people.
In this context, Environmentek, together with its Cameroon partner, have recently set about broadening the CSIR's business base in Cameroon, with the mining sector being a specific target. This happens to coincide with a government initiative described as CAPAM, which aims to develop the mining sector from its present disorganised state (entirely artisan) into something that could really contribute to the sustainable development of the country. In spite of Cameroon's apparently rich mineral resource base, the sector makes no measureable contribution at present.
The Environmentek-CIME Consulting consortium, in collaboration with Miningtek, are progressing well in terms of negotiations with the Government of Cameroon, which will position the CSIR as the leading technology provider for the country's mining sector, in environmental management and hard-mining technologies.
Negotiations have progressed over several months and the signing of an exclusive collaborative agreement between the CSIR and the government seems certain to take place in near future. The Minister of Mines, Energy and Water will sign the agreement in his position as Chairman of CAPAM.
A framework agreement has been prepared, explaining the proposed relationship between the CSIR, CIME Consulting (our in-country counterpart) and the government. Prior to finalising this, representatives from the various parties conducted a field inspection of an area in which artisanal gold mining is active.
The party included Mike Burns (Environmentek), Conri Moolman (Miningtek), staff from CIME Consulting and Dr Paul Ntep, the CAPAM initiative leader from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water. What was observed convinced the group that there are significant opportunities for the sector to perform way above what is happening on the ground at present, and it is in this sphere that the CSIR can contribute significantly in terms of making things happen.
After the collaboration agreement has been signed, an elaborate plan of action will be developed. As a priority, the plan will propose the
conduct of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the mining sector, and from this basis, identify the strategic initiatives that will need to be supported in order for the sector to optimise its contribution to sustainable development.
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