Libreville February 27, 2014 - Equatorial Mining Company (SEM ) today announced that in 2013 generated a turnover of 759 million CFA francs from the sale of gold collected by its subsidiary Comptoir Gabonese Collection Gold ( CGCO ) from artisanal mines operating in Gabon . The results of this first year of activity CGCO mark a significant takeover of this sector by the state that was previously exploited by informal networks and engendered many social problems in the areas of operation .
" In 2013 we collected 42.9 kilograms of gold through the creation of the golf counters Makokou and Ndjolé and missions of many of our agents on the main areas of gold mining . But our goal is not just collection from artisanal mines . We want to completely restructure this sector, which for too long beyond the control of the State. Our mission is both to ensure that artisanal gold mining in Gabon and benefits to its citizens, but also the craftsmen working in better conditions, in compliance with the law and the environment. "Said Fabrice Nze Bekale , the Director General of the SEM.
Founded in 2011 by Presidential Decree , the SEM is directly related to the vision of President Ali Bongo Ondimba to improve the management of Gabon's natural resources and optimize their use in favor of economic and social development . It is in this context that the State has entrusted the SEM, under the technical supervision of the Ministry of Mines, the task of restructuring the artisanal mining activity and gold to be the exclusive buyer .
It is to this end that was created Comptoir Gabonese Collection Gold , a subsidiary 100% owned by the SEM. CGCO the main tasks to organize the collection of gold across the country and ensure the management and monitoring of the gold sector in Gabon , including through improved working conditions for miners.
Gold is used in Gabon since the early twentieth century. Since 1937 , it is estimated that at least 40 tonnes of gold have been extracted from various gold washing sites present throughout the national territory. Much of this production comes from the treatment of alluvial gold.
The Ministry of Mines, now the gold mining areas to make the purchase of gold mined , lived in 1990 over 1500 miners and the existence of a system of smuggling northward. Following the outbreak of Ebola in 1994 and attacks against its staff , the Ministry of Mines was forced to abandon this policy.
In recent years, the exploitation by smugglers networks artisanal mines in Gabon , in addition to depriving the state and the Gabonese any profit from this operation has posed major challenges: illegal immigration, insecurity, conflicts between miners and local communities , environmental threats with a sharp increase in poaching .
Minkébé area where police and the army had to intervene several times in recent months is a perfect illustration of the seriousness of the problem posed by the informal functioning of this sector.
Restructuring of artisanal gold chain
Faced with this situation , the CGCO has gradually established in 2013 political control of the main gold mining areas by intervening in purchasing and marketing .
"In addition to openings counters, we do background work to restructure artisanal gold chain and ensure a more transparent management . We introduced several innovations that are already bearing fruit , "said Wesbert Moussounda Ngoumba , the director of operations CGCO .
"We have such a foundry that manufactures raw gold bullion marked , allowing us to achieve greater traceability on marketing. And we now routinely perform sample analyzes that help us establish a national map of gold grades . We also successfully launched an application for smartphones , which we called the " Gold App" with which we can ensure the traceability of the supply chain of gold extraction sites to our seat. Our agents via this application record all relevant information when purchasing the land of gold. This information allows us to create a single database on mining gold in Gabon . "
Parallel to these activities, in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines, the CGCO provides technical assistance to Gabon miners who often work in archaic conditions and without security. Agents CGCO artisans offer their skills to improve the hardware and operating methods of the artisans. Finally , over time, the SEM is working to establish genuine cooperatives gold miners , adequate solution to professionalize the sector and contribute effectively to their social development.
"The first success generated last year demonstrate the relevance of our model to restructure the industry. We will amplify in 2014 our policy for creating counters collecting gold with the planned opening of three new structures Mitzic to Mouila and Lastourville . "Says Fabrice Nze Bekale .
Ultimately, HE wants to set up a real mesh of gold mining areas via a pyramidal structure comprising atop a collection center which , as a regional entity will manage several trading houses . At the base of the commissaries could be closer to the camps of miners to provide necessary assistance.