By Vubem Fred
19th March 2021
The company in charge of the Minim-Martap bauxite project in the Adamaoua Region, Camalco, on Wednesday March 17, 2021 met with the business community in Douala to present opportunities open to Cameroonian companies within the framework of the project. In his presentation, the General Manager of Camalco, Rick Smith said the Minim Martap bauxite project will be the first industrial mining project in Cameroon and the probably the largest deposit of bauxite both in terms of quantity and quality, outside Guinea.
The Minim-Martap project has a reserve to date valued at more than one billion tons of high alumina bauxite 51.1 per cent and very low contaminants, 2.3 per cent silica tested and approved by independent laboratories in South Africa, in accordance with the Jorc Code, the international standard. And the one billion tons is from only 17 plateaus drilled out of the 79 identified for the project which means the quantity is going to go higher and quality wise, the bauxite contains an average of 45 per cent of aluminium, which is excellent quality. It is worthy to mention that aluminium is extracted from bauxite.
He said the project is going to mobilise huge investments (1.4 billion dollars) in the domains of rail transport, logistics services, port activities, road construction, hydrocarbons, telecommunications, heavy equipment, cement plants, steel mills and builders. Hence the need for local content, which is, to identify goods and services that can be supplied by Cameroonian companies alone or in partnership with other international companies.
“The market is there and the bauxite is of very high quality” Rick said adding that China imported one billion tons of bauxite last year despite the outbreak of the covid 19 pandemic. Camalco plans to begin by producing five million tons a year exporting through the Douala port but to increase production to 12 million tons a year with time exporting through the Douala and Kribi ports. They also intend to set up a refinery in Cameroon for the local processing of the bauxite so as to be able to supply companies like Alucam with aluminium.
According to the deputy CEO in charge of media and government relations, Raoul Bertrand Kouakam Mbenjo, the project will be carried out in three phases, first is the exploration phase which is to end in four months, followed by the signing of a mining convention which will usher in the construction of a mine, the rehabilitation of existing railway lines.
The second phase will witness the construction of a railway line to Kribi and in phase three there will be the construction of a refinery for the processing of ore into aluminium for the local market.