Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared on Sunday that the northern province of Cabo Delgado could become a major industrial centre, given the recent developments in the mining industry in the province.
Speaking to reporters in Palma district after a four day visit to Cabo Delgado, Nyusi said he was pleased at the pace of industrialisation in the province, shown most notably in the graphite processing plant he had inaugurated in Balama.
The Balama graphite mine and processing factory is the largest in the world. Owned by Twigg Exploration and Mining, a subsidiary of the Australian company Syrah Resources, total investment in the open cast mine and processing plant is about 250 million US dollars. It has the capacity to produce quarter of a million tonnes of graphite a year, and the mine is on top of known reserves of 114 million tonnes.
“I was further encouraged to learn that further graphite potential has been confirmed in districts such as Montepuez and Ancuabe, where new factories may be built”, said Nyusi. “This means that the province may become a great industrial power”.
Also in Palma, Nyusi met with representatives of the multinational companies preparing to exploit the natural gas reserves of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of Cabo Delgado, namely the American companies Anadarko and ExxonMobil, and the Italian energy firm ENI. He urged greater speed in their projects, so that the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) can begin as soon as possible.
Nyusi cut short a rally he was addressing in Palma, because of pouring rain. But he promised to return “within 40 days” because “I want to talk to you about peace and how to control the malcontents who are destabilising the country”.
Nyusi was clearly referring to the islamist group which staged an abortive insurrection on 5 October last year in the neighbouring district of Mocimboa da Praia. Although the defence and security forces reasserted control quickly, there have been subsequent islamist ambushes on the Mocimboa da Praia roads, and these sporadic raids have occasionally spilled over the border into Palma and Nangade districts.
On his return to the provincial capital, Pemba, Nyusi stopped briefly in Mocimboa da Praia where he urged the crowd that had gathered to greet him to strengthen their vigilance against those who sought to foment destabilisation in the district.
He denied that the jihadist group were true muslims, stressing that the islamic religion has never harmed Mozambicans. He urged members of the public to denounce to the authorities anyone who was threatening to undermine public order and security.
“The Defence and Security Forces are on the ground to protect the people and their goods”, said Nyusi. “They will pursue these armed men wherever they may be”.