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Illegal mining kills 35 in Mozambique in 2021

Death toll much lower than last year, but ‘garimpo’ mining cited as a severe drain on the economy; foreigners largely to blame.

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Death toll much lower than last year, but ‘garimpo’ mining cited as a severe drain on the economy; foreigners largely to blame.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:47 am

At least 35 people died in 2021 due to illegal mining activities in Mozambique, according to Salazar Mangumo, Director of the Inspection and Surveillance Services at the African republic’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Most of the accidents took place in gold and ruby mines in the central province of Manica and the northern province of Cabo Delgado, he said.

“In 2020, there were 73 fatal cases as a result of illegal artisanal mining. With a significant reduction in 2021, we registered 35 deaths,” said Mangumo.

Mozambicans join in artisanal or small-scale mining activities, locally known as “garimpo”, lured by the prospect of getting rich quick, but often get harmed or even killed by landslides or explosions.

“Illegal buyers, mostly foreigners, contribute to promoting this kind of activity. In addition to buying mineral products, they finance its extraction,” said Mangumo.

Illegal mining causes environmental damage, work accidents and occupational illnesses, and the activity can be a source of funding for organised crime, he added.

Without mentioning specific numbers in terms of losses, the director said that the mining activities fuel the smuggling of minerals in the country, harming the state in terms of revenue collection, Xinhua reported.

“Several efforts are being carried out, namely, the intensification of inspection actions as well as the dismantling of the illegal mining spots in coordination with the police,” he said.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:47 am

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