In a correspondence dated August 18, 2023, Fuh Calistus Gentry, Secretary of State to the Minister of Mines, instructs the closure of artisanal mines that are yet to get formalized. The instruction comes after two prior correspondences (in May and July 2023) giving semi-mechanized mine operators 45 days to submit complete applications for authorizations to exploit those mines.
The mines of operators who submitted their applications but failed to undertake "progressive rehabilitation work on mined plots” and “implement social projects that will benefit local populations” will also be closed, we learn.
In 2019, the former Secretary of State to the Minister of Mines issued an order banning all semi-mechanized artisanal mining activities on Cameroon's riverbeds.
The main targets of this decision were gold miners in the East region, where artisanal mining claims dozens of lives every year. In 2021, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Forêt et Développement Rural (Foder) published a report on the situation of these mines. The document counted a total of 157 deaths on mining sites in Cameroon between 2013 and April 2021.