The government of Cameroon have sealed at least 30 gold mines, located around the eastern borders of the country following a landslide incident that claimed 33 lives.
The sealed gold mines include the ones owned by indigenous miners and those supervised by the Chinese. Officials said that they are also concerned about working conditions that have caused deaths within the seasonal gold mine community.
The Aug. 20 Kambele landslide occurred barely two months after the Cameroonian authorities announced the deportation of more than 1,000 illicit gold miners from Kemnele following the landslide-induced death of 27 miners in May. The majority of those evicted from the Kambele gold mining village were Senegalese and Central African nationals.
Due to the area’s high level of mining activities, Kambele has, over the years, become a hub for gold mine workers and prospectors from Cameroon, Chad, and the Central African Republic. The burgeoning population in Kambele has caused the authorities in Yaounde to worry about the deplorable working conditions that may have led to the death of many during the seasonal gold mining. The landslide occurred weeks after the Cameroonian government had banned mining activities in July 2022.
The move to shut down the mines indefinitely is set to affect some of the ongoing corporate social responsibility projects that the officially licensed mining companies are rendering to communities in the region. Cameroon currently has more than 400 mining sites being run on the eastern borders of the country, of which the majority are illegal.