MAC: Mines and Communities

Mozambique: Protesters block Vale's coal mine

Published by MAC on 2013-04-22
Source:, Reuters

Brazil's Vale, the world's third largest mining enterprise, has been hampered in "developing" its major Moatize coal mine in Mozambique.

Last week, hundreds of local people blocked the mine's entrance, demanding adequate compensation for being uprooted five years previously. See: Resettled Mozambique families protest against Brazil's Vale

It's not the only foreign outfit to face problems in the east African country.

Rio Tinto recently wrote off some US$3 billion when the administration rejected its proposal to transport coal from its Riversdale mine along a major river.

The UK company has also been confronted by vociferous opposition to its "resettlement"  plans.

Both Rio Tinto and Vale have been told by the government they will be fined - or even have their licences cancelled - if they don't respect affected communities' human rights. See: Mozambican tribal queen stands up to Rio Tinto over land

See also: London Calling sees the Grey Man Cometh

Clashes at coal mine owned by Vale in Mozambique

Cecilia Jamasmi

17 April 2013

Hundreds of protesters blocked the entrance to a coal mine in Mozambique owned by Brazil's Vale, in a dispute over a compensation deal agreed upon after they were relocated, reports AFP.

The demonstrators demanded further compensation for being uprooted five years ago to make way for the colliery, but Vale reportedly said it has already done enough, paying out about $2,000 to each person affected.

The demonstration broke out on Tuesday after more than a year of negotiations between the company and the protesters, who were resettled in 2008 to make room for the Moatize mine.

Vale moved then about 5,000 people in order to set up its mining operation in the coal-rich northwestern province of Tete.

"When Vale came to Mozambique the government told us, you will get very rich. That is why we want the company to pay us what it owes us," one of the protesters, Maxwell April, told AFP.

First production from the expanded mine is expected in the second half of 2014.

Threats to the country's coal rush

Mozambique's coal industry has faced a number of challenges in recent months. In February the Rio de Janeiro-based firm declared "force majeure" on coal shipments due to the two-week shutdown, invoking clauses in supply contracts covering disruptions beyond its control. It didn't lift it until late last month.

A few days later, Anglo American (LON:AAL) decided not to proceed with the acquisition of a 58.9% interest in the $555 million Revuboe metallurgical coal project.

Then a mine run by Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) also halted operations, leaving rows of empty railway wagons at Dondo, about 20km from Beira. The company took a $3-billion writedown on its investments in the country as concerns over logistics grow.

Based on industry leaders' estimates Mozambique needs close to $20 billion to revive its railways and ports, a cost that seems too high for a country the United Nations lists as the third poorest in the world.

Protesters block Vale's Mozambique coal mine


17 April 2013

MAPUTO - Hundreds of protesters blocked the entrance to Vale's biggest coal mine in Mozambique on Wednesday, saying the Brazilian mining giant had not paid them adequate compensation for relocating them five years ago.

Vale said the protest did not affect production but the rally underscored a lingering problem for the mining firm from poor Mozambicans angry at what they feel are heavy-handed tactics to move them in order to exploit coal deposits.

"All access to the company was blocked. The workers had to sneak out of smaller exits," a Vale worker who asked not to be named told Reuters by phone.

The protest, which began on Tuesday, broke out after more than a year of negotiations between the company and the protesters, who were resettled in 2008 to make room for the Moatize coal mine in the northwest of the southern African country.

In January 2012, about 700 families resettled about 60 kms (40 miles) from the Moatize site protested against what they said was a lack of water, electricity and fertile agricultural land at their resettlement area.

Vale has said it managed relocations in a fair and equitable manner.

Vale and global mining giant Rio Tinto have invested heavily in the Moatize region, attracted by the 23 billion tonnes of coal estimated to sit there.

(Reporting by Marina Lopes; Writing by Jon Herskovitz)

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