Dangote Cement Cameroon has reached an agreement with the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, and the Tombel Council in Kupe-Muanenguba Division of the South West Region to begin exploiting a local quarry for its production purposes.
Speaking to Cameroon Tribune on October 11, 2014, the Divisional Officer for Tombel Subdivision, Ayuk Edward Takor, said Dangote received a five-year permit from the ministry. The quarry is located about 5 km from Tombel along the Tombel-Loum highway. It is on a hill adjacent the old Customs Post between the then East and West Cameroon States. Following the development, expectations are high in Tombel as to the dividends of the project. This is especially so as Dangote has promised to grade the virtually impassable 10-km Tombel-Loum highway as well employing local people.
Confirming the news to this paper on Monday, October 13, 2014, the Liaison Officer for Dangote, Mrs. Bekong Josephine, said the company received permit for about 27 hectares of land. The company will pay about FCFA 2.7 million to the State annually for the deal; with 15 per cent of it going to the local community and 10 per cent to the council. Mrs. Bekong promised that the project will take off as soon as they are through with electricity connection to the site; hopefully before November 2014. Quarry material is used as replacement for clinker in cement production.
According to the DO, a series of meetings on the project were held in Tombel. They were attended by a representative of Dangote, the company’s consultant and the public. The First Deputy Mayor of Tombel and Paramount Ruler of the town, Dr Bernard Ebong Salle, said he submitted 250 employment requests to Dangote. The list included lawyers, nurses, accountants, general labourers and drivers; though Dangote asked only for drivers and labourers, he added. He disclosed that Dangote gave assurances to recruit about 100 local workers.
However, when the authorities of the neighbouring Loum Council in Moungo Division of the Littoral Region heard that Dangote Cement was to exploit the quarry, they filed a complaint with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, claiming a portion of the area. The National Commission on Boundary Disputes was in Tombel on October 6, 2014 to look into the matter. After searching, representatives of the Commission, Loum and Tombel Councils, uncovered the pillar marking the boundary between the then West and East Cameroon. According to the boundary pillar, Loum Council has about one per cent of the quarry area, Dr Bernard Ebong Salle pointed out.