Yesterday, the 6th of May of 2021, more than a hundred brickmakers and peasants from “Primeiro de Maio” neighborhood in Moatize-Tete, invaded and paralysed the activities for several hours in section 6 of the Vale Company’s mine, as a protest for the loss of their access to the Moatize River, which is essential for the livelihoods and survival activities that they have been carrying out since 1994. These brickmakers and peasants saw recently their access to the river get cut by the mining company Vale, as part of the process of expanding the company’s activities to the Moatize III mine.
These issues were first raised in a letter, addressed to the Vale Company in March 2021, with a copy to the local government and to the Frelimo’s Party headquarters. The Vale Company replied evasively to the matter, claiming that they owed no compensation to these brickmakers since they had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with other groups of brickmakers. In the face of threats that the work on the mine would be paralysed by the brickmakers, Vale has therefore been calling numerous meetings to try to solve the topic with the affected families. However, the brickmakers report that these meetings have been repeated week after week without having a solution for these issues, and that they already feel worn out by the company’s strategy in prolonging the processes without giving the right details as to how, when and how much the brickmakers and peasants will be compensated for the loss of their livelihoods. This strategy of the company is already known, taking into account its pending issues with groups of brickmakers and peasants previously affected by the Moatize mine, which until today have not been fully and properly compensated, as well as the pending issues with families resettled by Vale who are today still waiting for the company to pay compensation for the loss of their farmlands and to rehabilitate their houses, which are in poor condition.
That is why this Thursday, the 6th of May, the brickmakers and peasants got tired of the company’s delays and decided to block the mine since 7am in the morning, having abandoned the location only at 4.45pm, when a team from Vale called a meeting for today, the 7th of May, where supposedly the issues will be negotiated and solved for the brickmakers and peasants, that have no means to sustain their families.
Despite Vale’s announcement of divestment of the Moatize mine and its intention to sell the mine, in January 2021, the company continues to expand its activities and impact the families living in the vicinity of the mine, without compensating them properly for their losses. It is unacceptable that Vale continues with this hostile stance in Tete and that once again has sealed the access to a river that is fundamental for the livelihoods of families that live in the vicinity, without negotiating properly with the families for a fair compensation. As everything suggests, Vale intends to drag these processes on, until the sale of its project in Moatize and the Nacala Corridor, leaving countless liabilities and destruction behind.
Justiça Ambiental is in solidarity with the cause of the “Primeiro de Maio” neighbourhood’s brickmakers and peasants, as well as all other brickmakers and peasants that have been affected by Vale Mining company for more than 10 years. And once again we ask: Who benefits from coal mining? Who pays for the economic, environmental, social, climatic impacts from mining? When will we embark on a development path that benefits most Mozambicans, rather than just a small elite and international capital?