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MIREME: “Illegal Mining is One of the Country’s Main Challenges”

MIREME: “Illegal Mining is One of the Country’s Main Challenges”

The Mozambican mining sector has proved very attractive in recent times, with the discovery of various natural resources whose commercial value is high. With the arrival of multinationals and the legalisation of exploration activity, it was hoped that there would be short-term development, greater revenue for the state and the creation of more jobs for young people.

However, there are still challenges undermining the sector, most notably illegal mining, which is carried out by a large number of Mozambicans, especially in the most remote areas of the provinces of Manica, Tete and Cabo Delgado.

‘One of the areas where we have major challenges is mining. There are many Mozambicans who engage in illegal mining to guarantee their livelihoods, without observing the environmental and safety rules that are common,’ reiterated the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Carlos Zacarias.

Speaking on Thursday (16), during the opening session of the meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME), the minister said that the Executive has endeavoured to pay ‘due attention’ to the illegal activities that take place in areas where natural resources are exploited.

‘Sometimes we see cases of serious accidents, which even lead to the death of people,’ he said.

According to MIREME, in 2021 alone, more than 30 people died as a result of illegal mining in the country, with the majority of accidents occurring in gold and ruby mines.

‘Local Mozambicans join in these endeavours with the assumption of obtaining an alternative source of income, but they are often harmed and killed by deforestation or explosions. Illegal buyers, most of whom are foreigners, help to promote this type of activity. As well as buying mineral products, they finance their extraction,’ explained the director of the Inspection and Surveillance Services, Salazar Mangumo, at the time.

Mangumo also stressed that ‘illegal extraction causes environmental damage, accidents at work and occupational illnesses, and can be seen as a source of funding for organised crime’.

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Without mentioning specific figures in terms of losses, he said that the action feeds mineral smuggling in the country, harming the state in terms of revenue collection.


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