The Southern Cameroun Corridor (unofficial name) is the unplanned economic corridor linking the iron ore mine deposits in northwest Congo and southern Cameroon with the Cameroon Atlantic coast.
It cuts across three countries (Gabon, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon) and two landscapes: the TRIDOM heartland (“the Iron Ore Triangle”) and the Campo Ma’an landscape in South Cameroon.
The corridor facilitates the transportation of the iron ore from the TRIDOM landscape and the Campo Ma’an landscape in South Cameroon to the deep seaport in the Cameroon coastal town of Kribi.
A Map of the Southern Cameroun Corridor
The two key components of the Southern Cameroun Corridor are:
- The backbone of the corridor is a 510 km long railway dedicated to transporting iron ore from the Mbalam Iron Ore Mine (with a 70 km spur line connecting Nabeba deposit) to the industrial deep seaport complex at the Southern Cameroon coastal town of Kribi. The mineral terminal to be constructed at Lolabe in Kribi will be capable of taking “China Max” bulk iron ore carriers of up to 300,000 DWT.
- It is estimated that when completed, the Kribi deep seaport, which is the terminal of the Southern Cameroon Resource Corridor, will cover a surface area of 26,000 hectares. The port itself will be an industrial complex with multitude infrastructure, including a highway, rail and power lines, a system of main roads, public transport and a light rail in the residential city.
Subsidiary Corridor Components
Chollet Hydropower Dam
The other infrastructure projects within the perimeters of the corridor include:
- The 575 km Sangmelina–Ouesso highway, which is vital to the Central African regional integration dynamics, as it is a transit route that connects Yaounde (Cameroon) to Brazzaville (Republic of Congo);
- The Chollet hydropower dam;
- The Memve’ele hydropower dam close to the Campo Ma’an national park;
- The Kribi–Lolabe Highway and the Kribi industrial deep seaport complex.
NB: In June 2015, the Government of Cameroon signed a transition agreement with Sundance Resources. According to this agreement, the Government will fund the port and railway infrastructure required for the Mbalam-Nabeba iron ore project through possible financing from China.
In July 2015, the Government awarded the contract to the state-owned enterprise China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) International for the construction of the Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Mine Supporting Railway and Port Project in Cameroon estimated to cost about USD 3.498 billion.
The TRIDOM landscape: Officially created in 2005 following a conservation agreement between the governments of Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo under the auspices of COMIFAC (the Central Africa Forests Commission), the landscape covers an estimated surface area of 141,000 km². It comprises a network of protected areas occupying an estimated surface area of 35,968 km² (24% of the landscape’s surface area) and non-status forests in the three countries: (1) Cameroon: Dja Faunal and Biosphere Reserve and the Nki and Boumba Bek National Parks; (2) Gabon: Minkebe, Mwaga and Ivindo National Parks; (3) Congo: Odzala-Koukoua National Park in Congo.
The Campo Ma’an landscape: The Campo Ma’an landscape, which is located at the end of the Southern Resource Corridor, covers a surface area of about 776,202 ha, spreading across the Ocean and Ntem Valley divisions in the South Region.
The landscape comprises the Campo Ma’an National Park (264,064 ha), two logging concessions, an agro-industrial belt made up of rubber and palm oil plantations and community agro-forestry zones belonging to HEVECAM S.A and SOCAPALM (a subsidiary of the SOCFIN Group) respectively.
Corridor Timeline: To be uploaded shortly.
Corridor Budget: To be uploaded shortly.
Corridor Environmental & Natural Capital
- Almost 97% of TRIDOM is covered by pristinelowland tropical forests. The landscape is among the few in the Congo Basin with still very good concentrations of large mammals in and outside protected areas (the forest loss has been verylow at 0.2% per decade over the last 20 years, 1990 2010).
- The Campo Ma’an National Park harbors about 80 species of mammals, including forest elephants, leopards, buffaloes, mandrills, chimpanzees and low-altitude gorillas. Its 18 primate species is an important refuge for the lowland gorilla and is the only place in Cameroon where the mandrill and its habitat enjoy protected status. The Landscape was selected as an “important” site for great ape conservation in the recently published IUCN “Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of Western Lowland Gorillas and Central Chimpanzees 2015-2025.”
- The TRIDOM, which is home to the largest population of forest elephants in Centra Africa, is just as rich in large mammals, such as the forest elephant (Loxodonta africana), the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), the buﬀalo (Syncerus caﬀer), the red river hog (Potamochoerus porcus), the bongo (Tragelaphus euryceros), the aardvark (Orycteropus afer), the giant pangolin (Manis gigantea) and the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta).
- The landscape is home to the agile mangabey (Cercocebus agilis), the black and white colobus monkey (Colobus guereza), the De Brazza’s monkey (Cercopithecus neglectus) and the mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx), whose distribution in Minkébé-southern Dja is limited by the Dja River, the Ivindo and the Katangoua.
- The landscapes are also home to about 302 bird species, 122 reptile species and about 250 fish species. They also house several parks, including:
- Nki and Boumba Bek National Parks and the Dja Faunal Reserve and the Ngoyla Mintom Forest Block located in the TRIDOM Landscape (the Cameroon segment), whose estimated surface area is 9 million ha/49,000 km² ;
- Minkebe NP, Mwagna NP and Ivindo National Parks located in the TRIDOM Landscape (the Gabon segment), whose estimated surface area is 5 million ha/ 50,000 km2 ;
- Odzala National Parks, the Lossi Reserve and the Ntokou Pikounda NP located in the TRIDOM Landscape (Congo segment), whose estimated surface area is also 5 million ha/ 50,000 km2;
- Campo Ma’an National Park located in the Campo Ma’an Landscape, whose estimated surface area is 264,064 ha/ 640.64 km2.
Corridor Socio-economic opportunities
[To be uploaded shortly]
- Absence of an integrated national development land use plan;
- Limited coordination on decisions on land attribution and land allocation within the national government;
- Lack of convincing economic value of the biodiversity by those in opposing mining and agro industrial development;
- The lack of clarity within the current regulatory framework on the corporate, social and environmental responsibilities of mining, infrastructure and agro-industries;
- The fall in world prices of minerals especially iron ore (less than 50 USD for a ton) has caused most of the mining projects to come to a standstill;
- No monitoring of impact created by mining projects;
- Need to have clear guidelines on: How the offset preserve ecosystem could will function, i.e., what key biodiversity components should be taken into account in the offset and which biodiversity losses should be considered “not-offset-able”.
- Influx of population, resulting negative impacts on biodiversity as poaching especially for ivory will be intensified.
There is no doubt that the development of the TRIDOM Corridor will have a serious impact on the ecological health of the two major landscapes should it be developed under the “business as usual” scenario. There is therefore a need to influence mining, infrastructure and hydro developments in the Southern Cameroon Resource Corridor so as to ensure sustainable development is maintained, which in turn ensures the economic well-being of the local people is improved and the ecological connectivity, robustness and healthy wildlife populations in the Landscapes are preserved by:
- Maintaining ecological integrity within the TRIDOM and Campo Ma’an landscapes by ensuring that key habitats are adequately managed and protected from the development of mining and infrastructure projects;
- Developing an integrated development vision for the Southern Cameroon Resource Corridor targeting local communities as main beneficiaries;
- Ensuring that extractive, infrastructure and hydropower development projects apply environmental and social best practices, including applying the mitigation hierarchy in the design and realization of the different projects.
Efforts Made (as of 31/12/2016):
- Profiling of the Corridor (extractive scoping study being carried out by WWF Norway)
- Biomonitoring data completed for the three parks in the Cameroon TRIDOM segment and the Campo Ma’an National Park
- The establishment in 2012 in Brazzaville of a platform of mining companies operating in the TRIDOM landscape
- Initial Discussions with the Kribi deep seaport and SOCAPALM on potential of support/contributions in the conservation efforts towards the management of the Campo Ma’an National Park
- Conventions between HEVECAM and the Memev’ele Hydropower project for support to the Campo Ma’an National Park
- The creation of a Wildlife Reserve in the NM Forest Block as a conservation concession to be managed by CAMIRON
- HCVA identified and mapped outside protected areas (50% of the corridor)
- Socio-economic data for TRIDOM collected and analysed
Snapshot of the Mining Projects in the Corridor
||Sites in TRIDOM
Mbalam – Nabeba (Cameroon-Congo)
||Badondo and Belinga North (Congo)
||Major owner is Australian (Socrates Vasiliades: CEO)
||West African Mineral Corporation
||Djadom-Dja & Lele (Cam)
||Nkout (Cam) and Ntem (Cam)
||TSX & AIM
|GEOVIC Cameroon Plc
||Geovic Mining Corp.
||Asterion AV Ltd
|C&K Company Ltd
|Sinosteel CAM SA
||Mont Mamelles (Cam)
Snapshot of the Logging and Agro-Industrial Concessions in the Cameroon Segment of the Corridor
|Name of Enterprise
||Area of Interest
|Sud Cameroun Hevea S.A.
Snapshot of the Infrastructure Projects in the Cameroon Segment of the Corridor
|The Kribi industrial seaport complex
|The Mbalam – Kribi Railway
||China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC)
|The Chollet Hydropower dam
|The Memev’ele hydropower dam
|The Ouesso – Sangmelina Highway
||[ Missing ]
| The Kribi-Lolabe Highway