Manica — Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, on Friday expressed his dissatisfaction with a number of irregularities he found in the mining sector in the central province of Manica, particularly river pollution.
Still worse, according to the President, local authorities appear to be unable to enforce the law allegedly because of shortage of staff.
Problems came to the surface in the region of Penhalonga, district of Manica, during a meeting with mining operators, with most involved in gold mining.
To improve the situation, Nyusi ordered the Provincial Directorate of Mineral Resources and Energy to convene an urgent meeting with both small and large mining operators working in the region to come up with a definitive solution to stop rivers pollution within the next 15 days.
The chairperson of an association of small operators admitted that they have used highly polluting techniques in the past but it is no longer happening, thanks to an awareness campaign launched by the government.
The campaign and capacity building helped to bring down the levels of water pollution in the last two years.
"In the last two years ago, the waters used to be clean after the training", said the chairperson.
AIM confirms that water pollution is still a problem in the region, which negatively impacts on agricultural production, livestock and population. One of the rivers affected is the Revue.
Speaking during the meeting, the head of the Provincial Directorate of Mineral Resources and Energy, João de Lima Junior, corroborated with the statements made by the chairperson of an association of small operators on the success of the awareness campaign. He blamed shortage of inspectors for poor inspection of mining operations.
"Our inspectors visit the mines during the day and everything seems fine. But at night, the mining companies discharge polluted water into the rivers, "lamented Junior, adding that when they convene a meeting to discuss the problem, some operators refuse to participate.
However, Junior's explanation failed to convince the Mozambican President, who said that the authorities should take a tougher stance.
"Within 15 days you must convene a meeting and find a solution. I do not want polluted water. "
"We cannot have a static structure," Nyusi warned, stressing that it doesn't make sense for the President himself to be forced travel to Manica just to solve the problem of water pollution.
Despite the issues raised in the meeting, Nyusi expressed his satisfaction with the event because it was a common understanding that time has come to stop unregulated mining activities.
During the meeting, the participants also raised a number of issues such as high taxes rates charged to small operators.
The meeting took place at the premises of the company Tech Mining Lda, in the Penhalonga region, Machipanda administrative post, and brought together members of the provincial government, mining companies, concession holders, associations of mining companies, holders of mining licenses, among others.