Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Cam Iron Gets Mining Convention for Mbalam Iron Project

Cam Iron, the Cameroon chapter of the Australian-based Sundance Resources Limited that carried out exploration of iron ore deposits in the East Region, has been given a mining convention, the second to the last stage in the mining of the reserves estimated at 35 million tonnes per annum.

The mining convention was signed in Yaounde yesterday November 29 between Cameroon's Minister of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Emmanuel Bonde, and Sundance Resources CEO and Cam Iron Board Chairman, Giulio Losello. This was in a ceremony chaired by the representative of the Prime Minister, Louis Paul Motaze who is the Secretary General at the PM's Office and also Steering Committee Chairperson of the project. On the other hand, the officials of Sundance Resources also signed an enterprise collective agreement with the Ministers of Labour and Social Security, Grégoire Owona and that of Employment and Vocational Training, Zacharie Perevet.

According to the terms of the convention, Cam Iron and Sundance Resources have 18 months to mobilise the project's finances to the tune of over 8.7 billion US dollars (about FCFA 4,350 billion) before it is served a mining permit for effective mining to begin. With the convention, mobilisation of the 5 billion dollars (about FCFA 2,500 billion) needed for the first phase of the project will begin. The second phase of the project to gulp in 4.9 billion dollars (about FCFA 2,400 billion) will begin 12 years after the mining operation. It will consist in constructing and using a mining unit.

Speaking during the ceremony, both parties said the signing of the convention marks a giant step in the multi-billion project that has a lot for the country in terms of socio-economic development. Information from Cam Iron says the Mbalam Iron Ore Project will produce 35 million tonnes of iron ore per annum and generate royalties to the tune of 600 billion US dollars in 25 years. Cam Iron will construct a 510-km rail line for the transportation of iron ore from the Mbarga Mine to the Cameroon coast with a 70-km rail spur line to connect to the Nabeba Mine in Congo.

It will also build a deep water iron ore export terminal in Lolabe- Kribi capable of taking bulk "China Max" iron ore carriers. "Once the finances are available, we will be ready to go full scale ahead, build the railway, develop the mines and build the port. We expect to have that completed by the end of 2016 so that we can export iron ore for the benefit of the people and government of Cameroon and my company by the start of 2017," the Project's Director, David Meehan, said.

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