Paul Ntep Gweth, former National Coordinator of the Small Scale Mining Support and Promotion Framework Unit (CAPAM) has officially handed over to the new Coordinator, Jean Marcel Essomba. The handover took place at the CAPAM premises in Ngousso, Yaounde, on Monday, February 25 in a ceremony chaired by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Industries, Mines and Technological Development, Dr. Fuh Calistus Gentry.
Among the many achievements of the out-gone CAPAM Coordinator which Dr Fuh Calistus lauded, was the launching in 2011of "Operation Gold" which sought to ensure that at least 70 per cent of the then 179 kilogrammes of gold produced monthly from gold mines is channeled into strengthening Cameroon's gold reserves at the Central Bank, BEAC with the view of providing alternative sources of funding the economy. "If the operation is fully successful, more than FCFA 1,000 billion could be generated before 2016 with the State of Cameroon gaining at least FCFA 200 billion to finance some development projects outlined in the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper," Mr Ntep said.
A challenge which his successor, the Secretary of State noted, would need to work hard to surmount. "Administration is continuous and we expect the new coordinator to continue with the roadmap to make CAPAM an organ to improve the living conditions of the rural population by the presence of mining activities. The putting in place of the sharing contract with companies that have got contracts with local mining companies, the same programme that was pursued by the former coordinator, should be upheld by the new coordinator," Dr Fuh Calistus Gentry said.
Records show that CAPAM which took off from nothing in 2003 with a mining engineer, Paul Ntep Gweth, as Coordinator, last year had a budget of FCFA 3.7 billion and has contributed in augmenting the number of mining exploration permits in the country from one in 2003 to over 170 in 2012.