By Estacio Valoi
Estacio Valoi/ Areias pesadas.“As nossas vidas não significam nada”: O custo humano da Mineração Chinesa Haiyu Mozambique Mining em Nagonha-Nampula, Moçambique/ April/22/2017
From north to south Mozambique in a dizzying descent in the race for mining exploration in Mozambique all the way down from Cabo Delgado, Tete, Nampula, Beira, Zambezia, Inhambane provinces were concessions during the last decades have been granted like mushrooms for multinationals linked to the main political party FRELIMO and other goons benefiting in trillions of dollars leaving nothing or almost nothing for the local communities.
People, communities are sipping around on their own land in favour of a small elite with his multinational friend companies such as the British mining company Gemfields, the Canadian based FURA, Vulcan Resources – VALE , Huyan , Syran , SASOL and other . In spite of government policies supposed to assist community-based mining, villagers who had hoped to explore got scars, deaths caused by bullets people buried alive, mutilated, wounded, jailed, no Jobs “the wealth beneath their feet” were “cheated.”
The local organizations community in Inhambane says that has earned little from natural gas exploitation by the South African petrochemical group Sasol in Pande and Temane, in the country’s Inhambane province Mozambique.
“When you look at the examples from Tete, Vale, Cabo Delgado, These are interesting experiences, important to see. Cabo Delgado did not see the direct benefit for the communities due to the problems that exist there. Tete with VALE we know what happened, it is happening to the surrounding communities, heavy sand in Moma we know what impacts happened to the communities, we are not seeing anything that could be different in this area compared to what happened , it is happening in these other areas, provinces!” https://moz24h.co.mz/state-and-the-state-of-criminalization/
Inhambane province its main activities are fishing and tourism but now the government currently carrying out a consultation on mining activities involving some companies in different areas from oil and gas , heavy sands
Mario Gonga from Blue planet
Consultation in the province of Inhambane ‘It’s a study that will be carried out and we think about those who will fail. Firstly, the marine life that exists in this area is special, such as whales, sea turtles, dugongs and others such as fish and possibly if these studies that are intended to be carried out could create irreversible impacts on these marine species, affecting biodiversity directly in the area of tourism, fishing and also the life of the communities in this area, here in the area of Bazaruto, Inhanssoru and also here in the Vilanculos area, so we want to believe that it is not time for a project that could interest the community here
No mining, we are not interested
The local organizations, communities don’t want it and the risks are high
Mario Gonga from Blue Planet environmental organization in Vilanculo before starts explaining what is have been happening during this week in that place of Mozambique . Starts rising questions which were done during the consultation meeting
What are the guarantees of zero risk to the environment and marine ecosystem on our coast!? What are the compensations if there are adverse impacts after the first phase of seismic research in tourism and fishing? At today’s meeting in Vilanculos, there was strong opposition expressed by the wider community. The following points were specifically addressed:
– Unavoidable impacts on tourism and artisanal fishermen; Very close proximity to two designated conservation areas; Status of KBA, IMMA, hot spot for migratory birds, nesting site for 5 species of sea turtles; Precedents in South Africa, where requests for seismic testing were refused in less sensitive environments; Totally inadequate community involvement; Other important investment projects (hundreds of millions of dollars) focused on ecotourism, environmental protection and community development that will be compromised by this activity; Inaccurate and selective reporting of megafauna occurrences during today’s presentation; Conflict with government and international goals of 30×30 and Blue Economy.
It is very important that further technical and scientific concerns are presented in writing by both organizations.
Out of their land, sea
The mining companies only cares about profit while the government apart of few taxes also expect to receive many commissions under the table . New concession are about to be granted in the South province of inhambane which has great tourism potential and investment opportunities along its 700 kilometres of coastline, with beaches lapped by crystalline waters, great scenic beauty and diversity of marine and terrestrial flora and fauna and huge community fisheries and auscultation has been going on .
Vilanculo, Bazaruto are also targets. Exemple “the archipelago is a group of 5 islands on the Mozambique coast, rich in biodiversity, including the largest dugong population in the EAME region. It has been classified as an island group of world significance and considered a priority seascape for conservation. It is a successful story in marine park conservation.
The book entitled A Natural History of Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique provides a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary overview of the social, economic and ecological aspects of the Archipelago of Bazaruto. It will be an invaluable tool for a variety of professionals (specialists as well as generalists), including, biologists, physical and social scientists, scholars, librarians, decision makers, students and civil society in general. With it the authors have provided an important input towards the conservation of the marine and coastal resources of EAME, a region with a big deficiency of scientific and technical information on the science and management of the marine and coastal resources.”
Proponent of the consultation ‘and the government that hired a company that ‘is Searcher and Impacto company doing environmental study. These are the three that are in this process but the community says no, even if it is a large project that can exploit gas, and they really want to understand whether we have gas or not, here the community unanimously says no. you don’t need these projects because we live here based on fishing, the entire community here is fishing and normally, if there is greater damage, we don’t know what the level of compensation will be, both for the tourist and other sectors. of fishermen.
For Mario Gonga from Blue Planet in Vilanculo Speaking of Bazaruto, one of the projects is the exploration of heavy sand by a corrupt Chinese Good said that is still early to talk about it considering that their still in pre study stage and they are carrying out an environmental impact study, making a presentation of what is involved and a report that indicates that if these studies are carried out there will be less fatal damage. “Despite the the pre stage of the process here the community fishing, tourism operators are saying no. We don’t want the studies which are being carried on and doesn’t matter what the final report says all seismic activities have an impact that is not minimal and we believe there is fatal damage and the technologies that they are used today is not yet 100% reliable and especially in a sensitive area like this in terms of the habitat of special species. It is irreversible and they cannot minimize says that the damage will be minimum we do not believe we want Zero damage and risks, protection and contribution for the ecosystems to the areas that still exist”.
From fisheries and tourism to mining
And is where the famous sand mining company wants the share such as Haiyu Mozambique Mining, Co.Lda, a subsidiary of Hainan Haiyu Mining Co.ltd and Africa Great Wall Mining Development Company, lda, has been awarded a 20-year mining concession of 3.189,66 hectares (https://portals.landfolio.com/mozambique/en/) and authorization to extract 93.77 million tons of heavy sands reserves for zircon and illuminant according to the companies deputy general manager Juyi Li (MZNEWS article on 3rd of May 2022). With municipal and presidential elections looming in 2023 and 2024, the newly licensed mine alongside multiple additional prospecting licenses spanning this ecologically important coastline, despite overwhelming evidence of the damage that will result to this biodiversity hotspot.
Heavy sands mining license issued in a coastal biodiversity hotspot adjacent to world-famous Bazaruto National Park in Mozambique.
One the eve of municipal and presidential elections, a Chinese mining company with a history of human rights and environmental violations is moving ahead on a project that threatens a critically important coastal ecosystem and the livelihoods of dozens of indigenous communities.
Sustainable development proponents argue that viable alternatives to this environmental destruction exist, and that the much needed development of communities can be achieved by leveraging millions of dollars in funding ready and available to protect both people and the ecosystem they depend on for survival.
Haiyu Mozambique Mining, Co.Lda, a subsidiary of Hainan Haiyu Mining Co.ltd and Africa Great Wall Mining Development Company, lda, has been awarded a 20-year mining concession of 3.189,66 hectares (https://portals.landfolio.com/mozambique/en/) and authorization to extract 93.77 million tons of heavy sands reserves for zircon and illuminant according to the companies deputy general manager Juyi Li (MZNEWS article on 3rd of May 2022). With municipal and presidential elections looming in 2023 and 2024, the newly licensed mine alongside multiple additional prospecting licenses spanning this ecologically important coastline, despite overwhelming evidence of the damage that will result to this biodiversity hotspot.
In 2018, Haiyu Mozambique Mining was the subject of an Amnesty International investigation and international report after residents exposed serious violations of national and international laws taking place in their community of Nagonha, Nampula Province. The Haiyu mining operation destroyed the coastal landscape in such a way as to cause severe flooding, destroyed coastal dunes, cleared coastal Miombo forests, dumped mining waste on wetlands, buried two major lagoons and the waterways that connected communities to the ocean, and exposed communities to toxic chemicals. The project destroyed homes leaving 290 people homeless and dozens of fishers families lost access to their livelihoods.
But the damage isn’t stopping there. Recently Haiyu applied for another mining license in the province of Inhambane, district of Vilankulo just south of two of the most important marine
conservation areas in Mozambique: Bazaruto National Park and the Vilanculos Wildlife Sanctuary. The area south of this newly licensed mine spanning between Bazaruto and Pomene is currently under consideration as a protection zone due to its ecological status and its essential importance for sustaining coastal communities.
The approval of the Haiyu mining license violates multiple commitments, national priorities and strategies made by Mozambique to identify important marine biodiversity hotspots and establish new Marine Protected Areas, protect coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds, and miombo forests. The area is one of only two remaining areas in Mozambique’s where coastal Miombo forests reach the sea.
The significant environmental damage predicted to occur as a result of the mining was outlined in a report to government in 2020, and at the time the mining concession was not approved and helped to protect this area and its people not only from harmful extractive mining operations but also from a company with a destructive track record and record of human rights violations.
Since that time, multiple alternative large investments in the hundreds-of-millions have come forward to government to support communities and strengthen the local economy while protecting and guaranteeing the sustainable use of natural resources. Discussions remain stalled and are progressing slower than the mining interests. These funding opportunities for protection of key marine and coastal biodiversity hotspots bring substantial financial and technical support that if prioritized and approved will not only protect this important marine and coastal ecosystem but also providing sustainable and long term development opportunities for the local communities address Mozambique’s conservation commitments and boost economic support and development for the districts and province. Establishing local management and zonation plans backed by strong implementing capacity is a far more sustainable alternative than the destructive and long term poisoning and devastating effects of heavy sand mining.
Meanwhile, in 2022 and despite the company’s history of grave violations, Haiyu ́s deputy director, Juyi Li announced they had gained the DUAT (Official Document of Use and Exploration of Land) and have been authorized to explore and market heavy sands. Apparently mandated public hearings were performed, but several stakeholders were not communicated and are not clear if this step was actually done..
According to reports, Haiyu ́s operations have started with several vehicles operating in the area, which may indicate that operations are moving ahead.
If Haiyu ́s operations in Nagonha, Nampula are anything to measure the impact on communities by, Inhambane is in serious trouble.
Nagonha ́s communities have themselves declared in response to the open pit mining’s impacts that ́ ́our lives mean nothing. ́ ́
Another victim of Haiyu ́s operation in Nagonha said: ́ ́The forests are gone. The cashew nut trees are gone.The forests had trees for fruits, for traditional medicines, for firewood, that we used. When our children went swimming, they ate masalas. Now all the wild fruits that our children used to eat are gone. Our children would leave in the morning and get lost in the forest eating wild fruit and swimming in the lagoons and return home after 12:00pm happy. Now it’s all gone and cannot do that ́ ́.
As of 2023, three additional prospecting licenses around the new Haiyu mining concession have been granted. One from the Africa Yuxiao Mining Development Company K Lda, Stelio Timóteo Marimba and Malaca Mineiros SU Lda.These mines would cover a total area of 610 km2 of coastal sand dunes and coastal Miombo forest (one of only two such forests remaining in Mozambique), prime turtle nesting grounds, a whale sanctuary, and a diverse system of coral reefs.
What will become of communities and these important ecosystems? Do our lives and our natural resources continue to mean nothing? (Moz24h)
Mozambique: Government suspends Haiyu for dangerous mining activity – Amnesty International – https://clubofmozambique.com/news/mozambique-government-suspends- haiyu-for-dangerous-mining-activity-amnesty-international/
Mozambique: Suspension of devastating mining operations welcome but affected community must get justice – https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/05/ mozambique-suspension-of-devastating-mining-operations-welcome-but-affected- community-must-get-justice/
Inhambane to gain heavy sands exploration units – https://mznews.co.mz/en/inhambane- vai-ganhar-unidades-de-exploracao-de-areias-pesadas/