Original paper

Geological resources, nature of mining and interest of Asian companies to invest in Cameroon and Central African Republic (CAR),

Nguepjouo, Diderot; Runge, Jürgen

Abstract

The physiographical subproject within the AFRASO research group (Africa’s Asian Options, www. afraso. org) funded by the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) does research on how the formal and informal mining sectors in Cameroon and Central African Republic (CAR) are structured and what are corporate practices of companies regarding national regulating mechanisms, mining and trade operations as well as socioeconomic and environmental impacts on mining areas and their surroundings. This paper addresses specific patterns of mining ventures and trends of investments by case studies in the solid extractive industries sector. Preliminary findings suggest that artisanal mining is mainly an unregulated subsector and companies of both, western and Asian actors are mostly subject to the “rule of the market” and take less care of national regulatory frameworks. There are only small differences among artisanal mining ventures in Cameroon and in Central African Republic. Preparative work on industrial mining in the two countries started as early as in 2000 by western companies with many exploration projects. After completing exploration – which normally ends up with the mining license in order to improve the project’s value – many western companies have been sold out by a low competitive process to Asian investors. Because of widespread political crisis and instability in Central Africa western companies are looking for “fresh capital” that comes from Chinese and Indian investors speculating with mining shares in fragile states. Therefore, Asian actors’ interest should not be considered as “neo-colonialism”; it is just securing commodities for emerging economies in Asia by applying the principles of capitalism.

Keywords

Central AfricaGeological ResourcesStakeholdersInvestorsExtractive IndustriesArtisanal MiningEnvironment