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Cameroon Villagers Say Chinese Miners Are Ruining Local Environment

MEIGANGA, CAMEROON VOA | Villagers near Meiganga, a town in northern Cameroon, are protesting against Chinese gold miners for allegedly ruining their land. The villagers say they are poorer than before the Chinese arrived, with their farms and forests now destroyed.

Area cattle ranchers and farmers say that if nothing is done to save them from Chinese miners, famine may strike their locality soon.

Their spokesman, rancher Mamoudu Poro, 54, says the miners destroy farms and do not bother to cover holes and trenches they dig on roads and ranches before leaving. He says they want the Chinese to build the roads they destroyed and fill the trenches they dug, give them electricity and at least a school and a market before leaving.

Until 2014, Meiganga and surrounding villages cultivated maize, beans and groundnuts and produced cattle for markets in Cameroon, Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

Then, 300 new mining sites producing gold, zinc, nickel and other materials were discovered in the region. Among the explorers were Chinese companies.

More than a hundred of the companies’ miners work in and around Meiganga. They use tractors and equipment that clean stones and sift soil, allowing them to detect gold faster than locals who use manual tools. Locals are paid about $2 per day to work at the Chinese mining sites.

Cameroon’s minister of mines, Gabriel Dodo Ndoke, says the complaints of the villagers are legitimate. He says he has asked the companies to respect the terms of their contract with the government.

Gabriel Dodo Ndoke, Cameroon’s minister of mines. (M. Kindzeka/VOA)
Ndoke says the population suffers as a result of environmental degradation and does not benefit as expected because their mineral resources are exploited in a disorganized manner. He says he has given instructions to all exploitation companies to make sure they respect environmental laws and stop destroying farms and cattle ranches, which for now are the only sources of earnings for the people of the area.

Officials with the China Mining Company in Meiganga declined to be interviewed about the allegations. However, company official Hu Long said the firm has assisted communities by providing aid to hospitals and building or refurbishing schools when solicited. He says the company also employs about 100 youths.

Mining operations have found gold, zinc, nickel and other materials in the Meiganga, Cameroon, area. (M. Kindzeka/VOA)
This is not the first time Cameroonian villagers have protested against alleged exploitation by the Chinese. In 2016, residents of eastern Cameroon had conflicts with small-scale Chinese gold miners who had been there for six years. The local miners said the Chinese had taken away their livelihoods and were not living up to promises to develop the area.

Cameroon has not officially announced how much it gains from the mining business but says it contributes a significant amount to the country’s gross domestic product.

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  1. Not in Ambazonia. We shall send them back to chinko land in bamboo coffins. This is what you get when a dementia fool secures his arse in power on borrowed money while selling the most hectares of land in his country compared to the entire continent to cunning chinaman.

  2. when Gorillas from BULU-BETI Land sell a country they claim to love to chinese, you can see the results..
    These feh men are only interested in oney..
    These forest Gorillas are only interested in power..
    These fools have drained the people , gave them bread and sardine and are today taking cameroon over 60 years backward..
    Some will come out here and say all is fine..
    Those of you who go home from the west and live in Douala , yaounde and the big cities dont know what these BETI-devils have done to Cameroon..
    The country is even worse than in the days before independence..
    There is division- the divide and rule method of Biya and his gang have made foreigners, like chinese and European and the west to be the richest and winners of this chaos..

  3. a par from little petrol you have in south west what do you have? if you guy’s known the northen part of cameroon got oil 100 time that south west you would never talk

    • Then why is it so hard for you monkeys to let Ambazonia go? Look at the lying orangutan struggling to defend Chinese exploitation. Stockholm syndrome at the highest level.

  4. There is a lot of COLTAN in the northen Zone:

    This war,

    Northern Zone = COLTAN Natural GAS AGRICULTURE

    It is a war on oil gas and coltan.


  5. biya & his cpdm crooks are destroying the entire Cameroon foras their personal propertya and gains,not a single local community is benefiting from any exploited resources in Cameroon especially in Southern cameroon, the minority political elites working with the BIR & police to brutality, intimidation,put fear towards it’s majority citizens inorder to conceal their corruption,bribery, embezellements of public funds and profits without questions as the ordinary people have no freedom of speech, doing any business with the Chinese it another colonial slavery from black African visionless colonial rulers, anything chinese must not cross to Ambazonia land otherwise they will face their Waterloo from the Patriotic Ambazonian people who are figting for their Independence fron destructive lrc

  6. Only good news coming from lrc is that they are sending a man to the moon!

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