On April 14, 2021, President Paul Biya signed a decree appointing 11 members of the Board of Directors of the National Mining Corporation (SONAMINES), established through a presidential decree on December 14, 2020. According to the decree, the directors are appointed for a 3-year term, renewable once.
The said directors are namely Blaise Moussa (designated by the President of the Republic), Jean-Claude Ayem Moger (representative of the Presidency of the Republic), Jean-Pierre Eloundou (representative of the Prime Minister’s Office), Serge Champlain Meyanga Bitoumou (representative of the Ministry of Finance), Agbor Kareen Onjong (representative of the Ministry of Mines), Paul Tchawa (representative of the Ministry of Environment), Jean Marcel (representative of the Ministry of Scientific Research), Léon Chantal Ambassa (representative of the Ministry of State Property), Eric Benoît Dikanda (representative of the Ministry of Transport) and Brusil Miranda Martine Metou (representative of the Ministry of Trade).
“The name of the elected staff representative will be communicated to the Chairman of the Board of Directors in due course,” the presidential decree states.
The next step will be the appointment of a chairman of the board of directors, a general manager, and a deputy general manager.
SONAMINES is a publicly owned company, with the state as its sole shareholder. However, the founding decree states that “SONAMINES’ shareholding may be open to other public or private entities.” The statutes of this new public company will determine its capital and the capital participation terms and conditions.
In collaboration with other competent administrations and agencies, the new company will review Cameroon’s mining indices, explore and exploit mineral substances, ensure the implementation of measures relating to the restoration, closure, and renovation of mining site as well as take a shareholding in companies operating in the mineral substances exploration, exploitation, marketing, treatment or processing. The corporation may do so by contributing capital or buying shares.
Placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Mines, SONAMINES was established to address the various problems identified in mineral exploitation in Cameroon. According to the Artisan Mining Support and Promotion Framework (CAPAM), the Cameroonian public treasury loses about XAF1 billion every month because mining companies hide the real volume of mineral resources they produce. Also, according to the Ministry of Mines, currently, public authorities are aware of just 40% of the country’s mineral potential.