Dec 29 (Reuters) - Australia’s Legend Mining (LEG.AX) said on Tuesday it hopes to start exploratory drilling at its iron ore concessions in Cameroon by June 2010 and that it has raised $3.42 million to fast-track the project.
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Below is a list of major mining projects in the central African country, which is seeking to diversify its traditionally oil-driven economy:
- Rio Tinto Alcan (RIO.L) is a partner with Cameroon’s government in Alucam, an operation scheduled to include a 1 million tonne aluminium smelter at Kribi. Rio has said the project, including a 1,000 megawatt hydroelectric dam to power the smelter, will cost 140 billion CFA francs ($317.6 million). Construction timeline is 2015-18.
- U.S. firm Hydromines, the United Arab Emirates’s Dubai Aluminium (DUBAL) and India’s Hindalco Industries have formed Cameroon Alumina Limited (CAL), a bauxite mining operation. The consortium says it has found 550 million tonnes of bauxite and is targeting at least another 200 million tonnes.
With start-up planned for 2013, the consortium plans to invest $5-6 billion in a bauxite mining and refinery project at Ngaoundal, north of the capital, Yaounde, and a railway linking the project to the port of Kribi, 860 km away. The expected bauxite output is 4.5-9 million tonnes per annum.
- Toronto-listed Geovic GMC.TO owns 60 percent of a nickel-cobalt-manganese project in Nkamouna, in eastern Cameroon. Geovic expects to produce 4,200 tonnes of cobalt per year and 2,100 tonnes of nickel per year for 21 years. But Geovic said in early 2009 production would be delayed until 2012 and investment was cut to $250 million from $370 million.
- Australia’s Sundance Resources (SDL.AX) has an exploration permit for the Mbalam deposits. The company delayed startup of production from the $2.46 billion project by two years to 2013. Reserves are estimated at roughly 2.5 billion tonnes, including 2.325 billion tonnes of itabirite hematite and 215 million tonnes of high grade hematite. Once operational, Sundance hopes to produce some 35 million tonnes of ore per year. The firm has raised $89.7 million with which to complete a definitive feasibility study on the project, it said in early December.
- The UK’s African Aura Mining Inc. is exploring its 100 percent owned Nkout iron project located at Djoum in southern Cameroon, adjacent to Sundance’s Mbalam project.
- Australia’s Legend Mining Limited (LEG.AX) in September 2009 acquired a 90 percent interest in two exploration permits covering an area of approximately 2,400 km2 after it obtained 90 percent ownership of Camina (Cameroon Mining Action) SA. The company hopes to start exploratory drilling by June 2010.
- Nu Energy Corporation, a subsidiary of Canada’s Mega Uranium (MGA.TO), is exploring for uranium in two sites in the north and the south of the country. After initial positive results in September, the firm is planning a follow-up 2,000 metre drill programme in the Kitongo project in the north.
- African Aura Mining Inc. is drilling at the Kambele prospect of its 100 percent owned Batouri gold exploration licence in the East region where the company has recorded visible gold in 25 out of 44 holes drilled.
- C&K Mining Inc, a joint Cameroon-Korean company operating near the border with Congo-Republic, is due to begin mining in 2010 with output to be 1 million carats in the first year and expected to reach 6 million carats a year at peak production. (Editing by Anthony Barker)