Mining & Energy
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File photo / Namanhumbir.
The Mozambican police say that since February they have expelled over 4,000 illegal miners from the Namanhumbir area of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Cited in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the spokesperson for the Cabo Delgado provincial police command, Malva Brito, said the defence and security forces are determined to end the illegal mining for rubies and garnets.
He said that currently 50 illegal miners, including Mozambican and foreigners, are in police custody. The foreigners are to be repatriated to their countries of origin, while the Mozambicans will be released against a promise never to return to Namanhumbir for informal mining.
“The operation to expel the illegal miners never stopped”, said Brito. “It’s here to stay. The defence and security forces have clear orders not to allow anyone to practice illegal mining. The playing about is over, and illegal mining will no longer be tolerated. Our forces are on the ground, and we will not allow these miners to return”.
Brito said the police operations had restored calm to Namanhumbir and the surrounding villages. The authorities are clearly determined that the ruby deposits in this part of Cabo Delgado, the largest in the world, will only be exploited by companies which have the necessary licenses, and which pay taxes to the Mozambican state.
The Namanhumbir rubies are officially exploited by Montepuez Ruby Mining Ltd, which is 75 per cent owned by the British company Gemfields. The concession covers 33,600 hectares.
Brito also announced that last week the Cabo Delgado police arrested in Macomia district two Mozambicans and a Tanzanian, and seized from them an AK-47 assault rifle. Using this weapon the gang had been poaching wildlife in the Quirimbas National Park, and had carried out a string of burglaries.
“The police have been looking for these people for a long time”, sad Brito. “Thanks to our investigations and the collaboration of the community, the group has fallen into our hands”.Source: AIM