Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM) in northern Mozambique, on Wednesday denounced the existence of unions that control illegal mining financed by foreign buyers.
“MRM believes that the small-scale miners are exploited by illegal ruby smuggling unions, usually financed by foreign buyers,” according to a company note distributed to the media.
According to MRM, the alleged foreigners who finance the illegal miners pay only a fraction of the real market value of rubies that are obtained illegally at the mine and from other sources.
The company considered that despite the awareness campaigns it has conducted, illegal mining is still a huge challenge, pointing out that the activity deprives the country of tax revenues from mineral resources.
“The actions perpetrated by the illegal miners are beyond our capabilities, which is why we are asking for the support of the government for the solution of this problem, which has caused enormous damage to the company,” said MRM CEO, Samora Machel Júnior.
According to the company, which has been warning about the consequences of illegal mining in the region for years, since the beginning of the year, the trend has been growing and there have been over 20 fatalities.
The most serious case happened at the beginning of February when 11 illegal miners died buried in MRM’s concession.
MRM owns 34,000 hectares of a ruby mining concession in Cabo Delgado and is the leading investor in ruby mining in Mozambique, 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by Mwiriti Limitada.