Cameroon: Government hopes Mintom quarry will bring down cement prices

Cameroon: Government hopes Mintom quarry will bring down cement prices
Published: 08 June 2016


The government of Cameroon has called on investors to help develop the Mintom limestone deposit, located in the country’s southeast, in the hope that this would lead to lower cement prices.

According to Business in Cameroon, the Director of the Institute of Geological and Mining Research told business leaders last week that a quarrying operation in Mintom would lead to a fall in cement prices on the order of 50 per cent.

Before 2015 Cameroon had only one cement producer, Cimenteries du Cameroun, jointly owned by the government and LafargeHolcim. Since then, Cimaf, Dangote and Turkish-owned Medcem have all set up grinding facilities in the country. Despite this, prices have changed little in five years, with a 50kg bag of cement still retailing for around XAF4800 (US$8.30).

In October 2015 Minister of Trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, accused producers of conspiring to maintain high prices, stating: "There is a game on the price of cement that the government cannot condone anymore. Obviously, you have agreed to impose on us the approved rate. We will have to review everything".

However, producers have maintained that the cost of importing clinker lies behind the relatively high price of cement in Cameroon. The government hopes that this can be addressed through the development of the Mintom deposit, which contains an estimated 540Mm3 of limestone. Earlier in the decade, an agreement was signed with Chinese firm CATIR to construct a mining and processing operation, but as yet the project has made little progress.