Maputo — 14 mining companies have suspended their activities in Mozambique, because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the general director of the National Institute of Mines, Adriano Senvano, cited in Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
The companies that have suspended their activity include a major earner of foreign exchange, Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), which operates the world's largest ruby deposit, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Among the other companies that have temporarily halted operations are Twigg Forest, which mines graphite in Cabo Delgado, and the coal mining company Minas de Benga, in Tete province.
"These are significant companies in the mining sector which have paralysed their activity due to Covid-19, which will certainly have an impact on their volume of production", said Senvano.
The largest coal mining company in the country, the Brazilian giant Vale, has been forced to reduce production at its open-cast mine in Tete, because of the pandemic. The suspension or reduction in mining operations is leading to fears about possible redundancies among the miners.
"Other, smaller companies, with exploration licences or with mining certificates, are also facing difficulties", sad Senzano.
Companies still in operation are working with restrictions imposed under the current state of emergency to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among their workforce.
The impact of the pandemic has also reduced the number of requests for mining licences. There have been 144 requests for mining licences so far this year, compared with 177 in the same period in 2019.