Large-scale coal mining and resettlements in Tete Province, Mozambique

While soon 6 million ha - more than half of the area of Tete province - will be covered by mining concessions, resettled families still haven't received proper compensation and what they have been promised.

Mozambique's Tete province comprises the inland Moatize coal mines and is a province very rich in coal. It is estimated that Tete holds around 23 billion tons of mostly untapped reserves.
See more...
Basic Data
NameLarge-scale coal mining and resettlements in Tete Province, Mozambique
ProvinceTete Province
SiteTete Province
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Coal extraction and processing
Water access rights and entitlements
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsTete province holds an estimated 23 billion tons of mostly untapped coal reserves, with the natural resource boom still in its early stages. Mining concessions and exploration licenses approved by the government cover around 3.4 million hectares (34% of Tete province's area). When licenses pending approval are included, around 60% of the province's area are covered, representing a project area of around six million hectares of land.
Project Area (in hectares)6,000,000 hectares (including licenses pending approval)
Level of Investment (in USD)several billion dollars (for several coal projects)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationMore than 7,000 (at least 1,429 households)
Start Date01/01/2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesVale S.A. (Vale) from Brazil
Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto ) from Australia
Jindal Steel and Power Limited from India
Riversdale Resources from Australia - mining
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Mozambique
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersHuman Rights Watch (HRW):
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Displacement
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.By 2013, many of the resettled villagers and communities still felt misled and cheated by the outcomes of the resettlements which according to them, diverged significantly from what they had been promised. There also seems to still exist a lack of coherent, efficient complaint mechanisms, despite of the 2012 resettlement decree passed by the Mozambican government.
Sources and Materials

Human Rights Watch (2012), Human Rights Watch Recommendations for Mozambique's Resettlement Decree, 17 September 2012,
[click to view]

Human Rights Watch (2013), “What is a House without Food?”, Mozambique's Coal Mining Boom and Resettlements, HRW Report, May 2013,
[click to view]

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) (2014), Mozambique Country Analysis Note, Last Updated: July 2014,
[click to view]


Mozambique families protest against Brazil's Vale, by William Mapote, Reuters Africa, 10 January 2012,
[click to view]

Mozambique protesters at Brazil-owned Vale coal mine, BBC News Africa, 17 April 2013,
[click to view]

Clashes at coal mine owned by Vale in Mozambique, by Cecilia Jamasmie,, 17 April 2013,
[click to view]

India's Jindal wins 25-yr coal licence in Mozambique, by Charles Mangwiro, Reuters, 4 February 2011,
[click to view]

Mozambique: Mining Resettlements Disrupt Food, Water, Human Rights Watch, 23 May 2013,
[click to view]

Media Links

Human Rights Watch (2013), Mozambique: Protect the Rights of Farmers Resettled for Coal Mines, 22 May 2013,
[click to view]

Other Documents

Map of mining licences in Tete province Source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update08/07/2015