A study released by the Center for Public Integrity (CIP) indicates the sharp increase in the number of licenses granted for mining projects in Cabo Delgado in the last four years. The CIP consulted data from the mining registry of Cabo Delgado, which show that in the 14 years prior to the attacks in the province, 67 licenses were granted – an average of five per year. On the other hand, only from 2017 to February 2021, in the midst of armed conflict, 46 mining projects were licensed – more than double the average number of concessions in the “years of peace”. Compared to the previous 14 years, the number of concessions increased by 68% in the four years of attacks.

“It was expected that – with the armed conflict that can spread throughout the province – there would be a reduction in requests for mining concessions, following the logic of a rational investor, who reduces his investments when uncertainties, especially war, increase. However, the data show a completely different situation in Cabo Delgado,” says the CIP investigation.

According to the CIP, a large part of the mining concessions in Cabo Delgado is in the hands of three companies, whose beneficiary ownership was not possible to identify. “Of the 113 mining concessions in the province, 7% belong to the company Nairoto Resources, 5% to Gemfields Mauritius, and 4% are held by Kukwira.” The first two companies are registered in Mauritius, the last one was registered in Mozambique.

The executive director of the Civil Society Learning and Training Center (CESC), Paula Monjane, argues that one factor for the fair distribution of the wealth produced by the extractive industry is precisely transparency, whose principles were clearly injured in the cases investigated by the CIP.

In addition to the lack of transparency, members of civil society organizations complain about the lack of local development plans and criticize the precarious social conditions in many resettlements generated by extractive industry projects.

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