In line with its Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon (SPEG), the Gabon government in September transferred its 28.45% stake in French mining company Eramet’s Gabon-based subsidiary, Compagnie Minière de l’Ogooué Comilog Société Equatoriale des Mines (Comilog), to the Gabon State-ownedmining company Société Équatoriale des Mines (SEM).
“As an organisation under the technical supervision of the Ministry of Mines, SEMwill manage the shares of the government in the sector,” explains Immongault, adding that the new configuration will enable the Ministry to focus on its main missions, which include designing the mining policy; granting mining permits; promoting, regulating and controlling the mining sector; and implementing the strategy for processing mineral resources.
Immongault further points out that the SPEG assigns SEM with operational missions, including owning and managing its shares in mining companies on behalf of the government and developing mining permits on its own, or in partnership with operators.
He also highlights that the reorganisation of the shareholding in Comilog is aimed at reinforcing the role of government, through SEM, as the strategic partner ofmining companies in the development of the Gabon mining sector,
He further points out that the SPEG is also an objective included in Gabon’s National Strategy for Industrialisation, which maps out the economic diversification of the country.
“Comilog is an example of the successful private–public partnership in a highly strategic sector. The objective of SEM is to contribute to the development ofComilog’s activities in an efficient manner,” says SEM CEO Fabrice Nze-Bekale.
MMC comprises two plants, including a pyrometallurgical plant that processes 65 000 t/y of silicomanganese, which is already operational, and a 20 000 t/y hydrometallurgical plant, which was scheduled to start operating last month.
MMC’s activities required the Gabon government to build the $400-million 160 MW Grand Poubara hydroelectric dam along the Ogooue river, which is about 15 km from Franceville, to provide sufficient electricity for the site.
Nze-Bekale points out that another major development of the partnership between the Gabon government and Eramet is the construction – through a private–public partnership – of the Moanda School of Mining and Metallurgy, which is being developed to meet the mining industry’s demand for skilled labour.
Construction of Moanda’s School of Mining and Metallurgy started in October 2012. The school is scheduled to open officially in 2016 to train advanced technicians and engineers.