Mozambique: Impact of big projects; crony contracts – By Joseph Hanlon

Neighbours of big projects pay the price

Reports last week underline that from Cabo Delgado to Tete to Maputo, the neighbours of big projects gain nothing and often pay a high price.

  • Gemfields finally sets up grievance panel

Ruby miner Gemfields agreed to pay $8.3 mn to settle 273 claims of killings, severe beatings and house burnings related to the Montepuez ruby mines, the company announced on 29 January 2019. Importantly, Gemfields agreed an independent grievance panel which can award compensation for any future claims, although it has taken nearly two years to set up the panel.

The panel finally met for the first time last week, and has been appointed chair. A journalist and chair of the Press Council (CSCS), Tomas Vieira Mario is executive director of development NGO Sekelekani, which published reports on the impact of the ruby mines in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

The mine has very high level political links. Montepuez Ruby Mining is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by Mwiriti, which is controlled by Raimundo Pachinuapa, a liberation war commander now on the Frelimo Political Commission. MRM is chaired by Samora Machel Jr. Pachinuapa’s son Raime is MRM’s director of corporate affairs. The negotiated settlement came after a case was brought in the London High Court in April 2018 by human rights lawyers Leigh Day claiming “serious human rights abuses at or around” MRM’s mine.

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