National Assembly: Gov’t tables new Mining Code to enable country better reap from sector.

Government, through the Ministry of Mines, Industry, and Technological Development, MINMIDT, has tabled a draft law before the National Assembly, which will ensure the mining sector significantly contribute to the creation of national wealth.

The bill was presented by the interim MINMIDT boss, Prof Fuh Calistus Gentry, before members of the Committee on Production and Trade of the National Assembly. 

The session, held Tuesday November 24, was presided at by the Committee Chairperson, Hon Mbakam Chouga Guillaume. 

The bill presented by the interim Minister lays down the overall legal framework and basic guidelines for Cameroon's mining sector. The draft law governs the reconnaissance, exploration, mining, possession, transportation, processing and marketing of mineral substances.

The bill, expected to be enacted into law, is an amendment of Law No. 2016/017 of 14 December 2016, to establish the Mining Code. 

According to the minister, the bill seeks to remedy the shortcomings of the law and incorporate the attractiveness, competitiveness and financial profitability concerns that can help to fast-track the implementation of transformational mining projects and increase the solid minerals sector's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in the short or medium term.

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Chairperson (centre) of Committee on Production and Trade during committee meeting


“With the arrival of SONAMINE, the 2016 Mining Code did not envisage SONAMINE. So this code is based mostly on how to integrate SONAMINE and how to make the state benefit from its presence,” Prof Fuh Calistus stated. 

Regarding dividends expected from the mining sector, Prof Fuh Calistus expressed optimism that with the implementation of the new Mining Code, Cameroon would witness considerable improvement in the sector's profitability. 

“With the new law, the State will make some money, whether the company makes profit or not,” he added. 

The revised legislation equally aims to create an enabling environment for increased investment, technological advancements, and responsible mining practices. 

As a result, the mining sector is anticipated to contribute significantly to the country's overall economic development.

He noted that “within the ambit of the law, the company can pay or give a certain metal to the State as a sharing agreement besides the dividends of 10%, which will or will not come”.

The inclusion of SONAMINE is expected to streamline operations, enhance revenue generation and create opportunities for local employment and economic growth.

“SONAMINE buys gold produced at different levels so that we can build a gold reserve for the country,” he further said.

Another innovation in the law is that mayors and local authorities where mining operations are being carried out would be involved with MINMIDT in the pursuance of mining activities in the communities. 


Prof Fuh Calistus speaking to the press after presenting bill


About the new Mining Code

The bill under review comprises 200 Sections, as against 242, in the 2016 law.

Content-wise, a number of innovations have been introduced; notably Sections 4 and 115, which grant to SONAMINES exclusive powers to purchase and market gold and diamond nationwide; Sections 4 and 48 institutes production sharing; Sections 4 and 20 devolving the management of non-industrial mining activities on regional and local authorities; and Section 9 clarifies the legal regime of small-scale mining through a distinction based on resource quantification.

In addition, Sections 11 and 46 institute the mining waste exploitation permit while Sections 25, 131 and 132 focuses on the improvement of flat-rate synthetic mining tax (ISML), collection, with the clarification of the component relating to the tax on the exportation of mining products and their by-products derived from the production of gold, diamond and other precious metals in semi- mechanised mining. 

To help the Ministry of Finance and MINMIDT to control real costs borne by mining companies, Section 32 establishes State participation in the deliberations of the Board of Directors of mining exploration companies.

Also, Section 33 eliminates the limitation on the number of exploration permits that can be granted to an individual, as a result of improved exploration monitoring through the exploration contract.

While Section 47 reasserts State shareholding in mining companies, Sections 61 and 67 establish domestic quarries and elimination of semi-mechanised artisanal quarries and deepens the compromise regime in Sections 79.

It is worth noting also that Section 100 reinforces the environmental protection regime, especially during the exploration phase, with the stepping up of the punishment of violations, given the current climate change-related challenges. 

The enactment of the amendment bill, followed by the signing of its implementing instruments, will reinforce the duties of SONAMINES and provide it with the resources to efficiently defend the interests of the State in the solid minerals sector. 

It is hoped that these reforms in the mining sector will significantly contribute towards creating national wealth and promoting youth employment. 

about author - About author : Macwalter Njapteh Refor

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