1. Authorities Continue Claiming Normalization of Conflict Areas

On 13 May, the commander-in-chief of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM), Bernardino Rafael, speaking at the Chai Administrative Post, Macomia district, said that: “We are not saying that we have come to the end, but it is almost.” The chief of the Mozambican police has said that 70% of the planned military operations have already been carried out against armed groups. “The war is harder, harder when it comes to an end when it is almost over,” the police commander-in-chief emphasized.

To illustrate the success of the fight against the insurgency, Bernardino Rafael said that 54 “terrorists” have been killed in the last two months in clashes with government forces from Mozambique, Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). These actions also resulted in the capture of four insurgents, with 120 popular fleeing during the fighting and 75 escaping from camps of armed groups. The results on the ground of operations show that government forces are “hitting the enemy hard,” continued Bernardino Rafael. “We will continue to fight the terrorists unrelentingly to the last stronghold,” he said, urging the rebels to return home because they are “leaning against” government forces. He called for a harmonious coexistence between the military and the population, warning of the risk of human rights abuses.


 

2. European Union announces 65 million aid to northern Mozambique

The European Union (EU) intends to give €65 million this year to development projects in northern Mozambique, affected by an armed insurgency. The EU Ambassador in Maputo, Antonio Gaspar, said: “For this year alone we have in the pipeline 65 million euros for development actions to the north, for issues related to support resilience, infrastructure, water and other programs that are already being formulated,” he said. The concrete projects “are still being prepared”, in “permanent dialogue with the Government” and the Northern Integrated Development Agency (ADIN). This amount represents 45% of the total support for this year, from the EU to Mozambique.

This amount is part of a wider development support package for Mozambique for the period 2021-2027. €428 million is planned for the first four years and there are three pillars: peace and stability, support for the empowerment of young people and a ‘green growth’ strategy, in support of the energy transition and preservation of the environment, António Gaspar said.

The financial development assistance will be implemented on the basis of a study entitled Northern Resilience and Integrated Development Strategy (ERDIN) prepared by the EU, African Development Bank, World Bank and United Nations with Mozambican authorities. The study to relaunch “in five years” the “basis for economic and social development” of the region, the document reads. “Its mission is to promote peacebuilding, the reconstruction of the social contract between the State and the citizen and economic recovery, based on the participation of communities, with the inclusion of women, young people and vulnerable groups, in a sustainable and resilient way, with respect for human rights,” he adds.

In addition to development funds, the EU has another financial dossier in which it is supporting the country with €89 million in military (non-war) equipment and bearing the costs of a two-year military training mission (2021-2023) to tackle the armed insurgency. “If we have a training mission” and support in equipment (uniforms, vehicles, field hospitals, among others) “it was because the Mozambican President asked” and “if there are more requests”, they will be heard, Gaspar said. In this regard, he mentioned some “two million euros” in support of “civil and military activities of SAMIM (southern African Development Community mission in Cabo Delgado) and other options to support SAMIM and Rwanda are underway on the ground.


 

3. Australian Company to Mine Sand Dunes in Gaza for Uranium

The Australian based mining company MRG Metals announced on 11 May that it has applied for three exploration licences for Rare Earth Elements and Uranium deposits about 150 kilometres west of the central Mozambican coastal city of Quelimane.

In its note to the Australian Securities Exchange, MRG Metals explained that the proposed project will explore a number of hard-rock and sedimentary targets following positive signs from radiometric spectrometer data collected from an airborne geophysical survey. Shares in MRG Metals on the Australian Securities Exchange jumped by 13 per cent following the announcement.

The applications for exploration licences are currently being assessed by the Mozambican authorities and the company stated that it is ready to commence field exploration as soon as the applications are granted.

According to the company’s chairperson, Andrew Van Der Zwan “the successful submission of the exploration licence applications that cover Rare Earths and Uranium is a very important step for MRG Metals in our forward-looking strategy”. He noted that the new licences will diversify the company’s portfolio and give it access to the growing Rare Earth and Uranium markets.

Van Der Zwan pointed out that “Mozambique as an investment destination is a fantastic country” and added that the company has an excellent local team. The company is also developing a heavy mineral sands project in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza.

Dune mining is one of the ecologically most destructive forms of mining. Not only will dune mining in Gaza destroy one of the planet’s most pristine and sensitive ecosystems. It will also make the province more susceptible to flooding after cyclones, and will necessitate the forced removal of many coastal communities.


 

4. Vulcan to Continue Operating Moatize Mine

The Indian company Vulcan Resources, which is part of the Jindal Group, on 5 May pledged to continue coal mining in Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, and to operate the Nacala Logistics Corridor, the railway which runs from Moatize, across southern Malawi, to the mineral port of Nacala-a-Velha, on the coast of Nampula province.

Vulcan Resources purchased the Moatize mine and the Nacala Logistics Corridor from the Brazilian mining giant Vale for US$270 million. At an audience granted by President Filipe Nyusi to the Vulcan Management, the company promised to keep the businesses running and to make new investments. The Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Carlos Zacarias, told reporters that the audience was an opportunity for the Vulcan leadership to introduce themselves to the President and brief him on their plans.

He added that Vulcan’s purchase of Vale’s assets included commitments to keep the current workforce in their jobs and to make the investments necessary to improve the operations. Zacarias also confirmed that the sale would result in the payment of US$20 million in capital gains tax to the Mozambican state.

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