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Residents and researchers heavily criticise project implementation on environmental grounds and call for a full impact study. The proposal covers the provinces of Inhambane and Sofala.
Multinational Sasol has submitted a seismic acquisition and offshore drilling project for offshore block 16/19 along the provinces of Sofala and Inhambane in Mozambique. Company managers detailed the project during a public hearing which took place in the city of Inhambane last Friday (July 5). According to participants, the company was heavily criticised for breaching pre-existing gas exploitation agreements.
Getrudes Namburete, a representative of the Terra Viva Centre, an environmental NGO in Inhambane, says Sasol must explain exactly what it is looking for, because the affected communities are in doubt about this company’s new project.
“Fishermen may eventually not be allowed to enter the sea. How is it with the situation of fishermen in this area? Sasol said that it is looking for hydrocarbons. What exactly is it looking for? Gas or oil?” she asked.
Andrea da Silva, from the civil society organisation Architects without Borders, says that the project raises many doubts regarding the sustainability of the communities affected. “How can we ensure the sustainability of the fishery resources if there is this seismic or oil drilling?” she asks.
About Sasol’s projects in Inhambane, where it has been exploiting gas for more than 10 years, NGOs says local residents have not benefited from their activity, and call for more training for young people so that they are not excluded from job opportunities.
“Sasol should think about training our children here to be part of the project, so that people from Maputo do not always come in, and we are called upon only to erect houses,” Carlos José Maria, a community leader in the city of Inhambane, suggests.
The environmental impact study was carried out by the company Golden Associados Moçambique Limitada and should be published by September.
Mozambican geographer and Inhambane university professor Amário João said that integrated, methodological analysis was necessary to identify the potential of existing resources. “Integrate several methods of analysing environmental impacts. There is a need for a combination of methods and, moreover, what will happen after identifying the potentialities that exist there?” he says.
Tashiq Naicker, the project manager, explained that Sasol is looking for hydrocarbons and says that the company will move forward if the project is approved by the Mozambican government.
“We are really looking for hydrocarbons, it may be gas or oil. We are still not sure what we have, but what is found will be brought before the government, to get approval to move forward,” he explained.
Government representative José Matsinhe said that all contributions would be heard, so that the project benefited all Mozambicans.Source: Deutsche Welle
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