Cameroon Inc. (CMINC) is an artisanal mining social enterprise formed by the team behind CAMNARES, a nonprofit organization started in 2005.
CAMNARES explores projects with the dual goal of protecting endangered species and wildlife while encouraging the economic development of the rural villagers who live among them. Past initiatives have included the funding and building of village water wells, schools, meeting halls, clinics and other community needs. We specialize in cooperating with existing traditional village social systems because many of our team came from poor rural villages. Our work has gained a reputation in Cameroon of doing what we promise based on mutual respect and personal trust. When this confidence reached the authorities governing rural affairs, we were offered a commercial license to collect gold and other mining products from villagers in three rural areas totaling over 100,000 hectares of forest jungle and savannah. CMINC was formed in 2013 to pursue this opportunity.
CMINC pursues the dual goal of raising the living standards of rural mining families while generating cash flow and profits for the expansion of our operations. We do this by buying artisanal gold and other minerals from the thousands of individual family miners in our mining territories. Though rich in resources, Cameroon is not currently a significant gold producer and has no industrial gold mines. Natural resource exploitation is typically seen as detrimental to local populations. We hope to pioneer ways to develop these resources with them for their benefit.
Our Community Mining is different from the Industrial mining and Artisanal mining usually recognized in the world’s gold industry. Industrial and Artisanal mining involves extracting and crushing hard rock ore with heavy equipment from a source mine under a private company or local cooperative where labor is formally organized and paid. Community Mining involves collecting gold directly from village families who mine gold on their own, typically by water panning of alluvial deposits. We occasionally provide equipment and digging services to reduce risky, unproductive work and improve safety. We also help provide a community’s social needs to build trust and to encourage better labor, environmental, and safety practices.
We face many daunting challenges. These range from preventing the trading of gold from conflict regions surrounding central and west Africa to the complexities of rural child labor to shielding the environment from chemical leaks to preventing people from falling into mine holes. In addition, we have operating issues such as the robbery of our transport staff and our partner village miners, as well as constant capital and cash flow pressures from Cameroon’s thin internal gold markets which limits the number of families who can benefit.
We are addressing these challenges through a series of policies and programs:
The Responsible Jewellery Council
CMINC is delighted to have become a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and is now working towards achieving certification by meeting the highest ethical, human rights, social and environmental standards as established by the RJC.
For more information about RJC please visit www.responsiblejewellery.com.