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Coal mining in Tete Province by Vale and other companies, Mozambique

While soon 6 million ha - more than half of the area of Tete province - will be covered by coal mining concessions, resettled families still haven't received proper compensation. In 2013, Hussen Antonio, died fleeing from the police when a group protested

Brazilian major mining group Vale extracts coal from the Moatize mine in the Tete province of Mozambique.

In 2012, the board of Vale was planning a $6 billion expansion of the mine with plans to lift output from 11 million tons to 22 million tons per year. The company is planning to build a 600 MW thermal power plant at Moatize. Many families have been displaced. Hundreds of families, displaced by Vale Moatize coal mine in Mozambique, in 2012 blocked trains used by the Brazilian company, claiming it has failed to keep promises made to them over two years ago.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Coal mining in Tete Province by Vale and other companies, Mozambique
State or province:Tete Province
Location of conflict:Moatize, Tete 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:Coal extraction and processing
Water access rights and entitlements
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Tete province is a "commodity extraction frontier" rich in coal. It 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.

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Project area:6,000,000 hectares (including licenses pending approval)
Level of Investment for the conflictive project12,000,000,000 (for several coal projects)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:More than 7,000 (at least 1,429 households)
Start of the conflict:01/01/2009
Company names or state enterprises:Vale (Vale) from Brazil
Rio Tinto (Rio Tinto ) from United Kingdom
Jindal Steel and Power Limited from India
Riversdale Resources from Australia - mining
Coal Ventures from India
Relevant government actors:Government of Mozambique
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Human Rights Watch (HRW):
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
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, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Other Health impactsLung diseases due to dust and explosions
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Specific impacts on women, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsCracks in the houses due to explosions
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:"The protestors want the mine to be closed definitively. Alternatively, the households affected could be resettled far away from the coal dust which threatens them with lung diseases. In addition to the dust, they say that the explosions in the mine cause vibrations which are damaging their homes, causing cracks to appear in the walls." [4]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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. There is police repression against people who want to use their own land which they have lost.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

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

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

Mining and extractive urbanism: Postdevelopment in a Mozambican boomtown, Joshua Kirshner, , Marcus Power, Geoforum, 2015, vol. 61. p. 67-78
[click to view]

[3] All Africa - Mozambique: The Cost of Land Grabbing in Tete Province

31st August 2017

By Burag Gurden and Eeb
[click to view]

[5] Vale Moçambique suspends work indefinitely on local complaints of pollution

8 October 2018
[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]

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

(1) From A Verdade, killing of Hessene Antonio by police for tresppasing on his own land now claimed by the Vale Company
[click to view]

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

DW - Moçambique: "Em Moatize vivem pessoas e não animais", diz morador

Data 09.11.2018

Amós Zacarias (Tete)
[click to view]

(2)Conflitos entre mineradora e comunidades em Tete causam morte de jovem. Disputa de espaço entre a mineradora Vale Moçambique e a comunidade de Nhanchere, na vila de Moatize, resultou na morte de Hussen António Laitone, um jovem de 25 anos de idade.
[click to view]

DW - Moçambique: Moradores em protesto paralisam mina da Vale em Moatize

Data 17.10.2018

Autoria Amós Zacarias (Tete)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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

Report (taken from DW) on the death of Hussen António Laitone. Conflitos entre mineradora e comunidades em Tete causam morte de jovem

Disputa de espaço entre a mineradora Vale Moçambique e a comunidade de Nhanchere, na vila de Moatize, resultou na morte de Hussen António Laitone, um jovem de 25 anos de idade.
[click to view]

Other comments:According to Kirscher and Power (2015, in Geoforum): "Tete hosts another planned energy mega-project with the pro-posed Mphanda Nkuwa dam, sited 60 km downstream from Cahora Bassa at a cost of US$2.2 billion. When completed, the project will produce 1300 MW of power and is intended to attract energy-
intensive industries to Mozambique and to improve its balance of
payments through regional electricity sales. Vigorously opposed by
a range of civil society organisations.". Notice that much of electricity from Cahora Bassa goes to South Africa, is reimported by Mozambique, sold to Mozal for aluminium smelting that goes for export.
Meta information
Contributor:Boa Monjane / Martin
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1940
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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