Mining & Energy
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The Mozambican Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, on Wednesday urged greater vigilance against illegal trafficking in rubies and other precious stones.
Speaking in Maputo at the opening of a meeting of his Ministry’s Coordinating Council, Tonela said “we must prevent the haemorrhaging of our resources, because the state is losing a great deal of money through illicit schemes. We are open to foreign trade, but transparency is needed in the business so that everybody wins”.
He warned that in countries with an abundance of precious stones, the illegal trade in these minerals just enriches a handful of people (often from the military) who control the business. To prevent anything similar from happening in Mozambique, a plan of action has been drawn up involving the communities living near the areas where the precious stones are mined.
The plan also includes setting up trading posts to ensure transparent business, and establishing a management unit for the Kimberley Process. This is the process established in 2000 to prevent “blood” or “conflict” diamonds from entering the mainstream diamond market. Mozambique is not yet a significant producer of diamonds. Diamonds have been found in parts of the country (most recently in Massangena district, in the southern province of Gaza), but the commercial potential of these finds has not yet been assessed.
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