Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Sunday praised the population of the northern province of Cabo Delgado for their calmness in the wake of the recent discovery of massive deposits of natural gas and other resources in the region.
"The discovery of natural gas could disturb our minds if we did not have the serenity and calmness to deal with such situations", said President Guebuza.
The President was speaking in the district of Balama on Sunday during an extraordinary meeting of the provincial government, which marked the beginning of his five day "open and inclusive presidency" tour to Cabo Delgado.
The President received an economic and social report for the province, which states that over eighty trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas has been found in two areas in the districts of Palma and Mocimboa da Praia.
According to the report, four major companies are prospecting in seven areas which have been identified as potentially rich in hydrocarbons.
Other natural resources found in the province include nickel, graphite, marble and rubies in the districts of Montepuez, Ancuabe, Chiure and Balama.
In the first quarter of this year jobs were created for 1,500 young Mozambicans, with employment expected to increase with the development of the mining and extraction industries.
By the end of last year the authorities had issued 134 mining titles in Cabo Delgado, composed of 109 prospecting and exploration licenses, five mining concessions and twenty mining certificates. Most of the mining titles are still in the prospecting stage.
Cabo Delgado province has also been the target of illegal mining, particularly in the districts of Montepuez, Namuno, Meluco and Mueda, where ruby, gold, blue topaz, garnets and green tourmaline have been mined.
To discourage illegal mining the authorities have established three artisanal mining associations with 820 members. Another three associations are being created for gold mining.
According to official records, last year 900 grammes of gold were sold in the province. During the same period, the authorities arrested and deported 62 foreigners and seized 65.5 kilogrammes of precious stones, 24 motorcycles and mining equipment.
Before his tour of the province ends on Wednesday, the President will visit the districts of Montepuez, Mecufi, Muidumbe, Palma, and the provincial capital city Pemba.