RELUFA, with support from the Commonwealth Foundation, launched a project for the Rehabilitation of Mining Sites in East Cameroon.

Cameroon’s National Development Strategy 2020-2030 has made mining a pillar of economic growth and development, which has attracted the interest of mining companies. However, mining, whether artisanal, semi-mechanized, or industrial, has a significant detrimental influence on the environment and surrounding populations. To minimize this impact, mining operators, particularly semi-mechanized miners, must do an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP). In addition to these two papers, mining companies must create a Mine Site Rehabilitation and Closure Plan to go with the ESIA and ESMP.

Mining operators are required to rehabilitate/restore and shut mining sites after the conclusion of operations under Article 136 (1) of Law N0 2016/017 of 14 December 2016 on the Mining Code of Cameroon. Furthermore, Article 233 of the mining legislation calls for establishing a Fund for the restoration, rehabilitation, and closure of mining sites and quarries, which would be funded by mining corporations’ contributions.

Rehabilitation or reclamation is the final stage in the life cycle of a mining project, defined in Article 4 of the Mining Code as “the restoration of former mining sites in conditions of safety, rural productivity, and visual appearance close to their original state, on a sustainable basis, and in a manner deemed appropriate and acceptable to the mining and environmental authorities.” However, mining operators typically abandon mining sites after the conclusion of their activity, resulting in devastating socioeconomic and environmental effects, notably in the Eastern region, which is home to numerous international and national semi-mechanized mining businesses. Cameroon, as an EITI member, must meet the objective of requirement 6.4 of the EITI Standard 2023 to assess the adequacy of the regulatory framework and oversight efforts to manage the environmental and social impacts of the extractive industries and to assess extractive companies’ compliance with environmental and social obligations.

In this context, the Réseau de Lutte contre la Faim au Cameroun (RELUFA) has launched an “Advocacy for the Rehabilitation of Mining Sites in the East Region of Cameroon” initiative financed by the Commonwealth Foundation. The project aims to alleviate health and environmental concerns in local communities in East Cameroon by effectively rehabilitating mining sites. To this end, RELUFA organized a restitution workshop in Yaoundé on 22 November 2023 to discuss restoring mining sites in Cameroon’s East Region. The workshop was attended by more than 35 people, including women, men, and young people from civil society organizations, representatives of the public administration, communities living in mining areas, and journalists. A key highlight of the workshop was the broadcasting of a documentary film showing the consequences of the non rehabilitation of mining sites in East Cameroon. The workshop aimed to increase understanding of the impact of not rehabilitating mining sites on both genders.

The workshop had the following objectives:

1 To present the factors and impact of the non-rehabilitation of semi-mechanized mining sites in the East region of Cameroon on women, men, young people, artisanal miners, farmers, and herders.

2 To enable the various stakeholders taking part in the workshop to contribute to improving the study report.

3 To formulate additional recommendations for adopting the Mining Code application decree and a regulatory text to make the Mining Site Restoration, Rehabilitation, and Closure Fund effective.

The expected outcomes of the workshop were that participants would be more aware of the factors and impact of the non-rehabilitation of semi-mechanized mining sites in the East region of Cameroon on women, men, young people, artisanal miners, farmers, and herders and that participants would contribute to improving the study report.

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