GOLD WARRIORS – MOZAMBIQUE
I visited many interesting projects in Mozambique. The EU in collaboration with some international NGOs have been funding some important programmes that have been really improving the life of many Mozambicans.
One of the project I was very curious about was the one in Pemba, in Cabo Delgado province for the Artisanal Mining Project funded by the EU, Medicus Mundi and Centro Terra Viva.
Mozambique is very rich in mineral resources.
I was told that it was around ten years ago when rubies and gold were accidentally found in Cabo Delgado district. As you can imagine, a lot of desperate people, including many fortune hunters, decided to leave their homes and move right next to the mines in order to have some disposable income.
Mining is not considered an illegal job here in Mozambique, but workers need to submit an application to the Government in order to work legally. But what happens is that, the Government often takes a long time in order put things into place . So a lot of miners, who can’t afford waiting for that legal piece of paper and need the money to keep their family going, start work illegally. The problem becomes bigger when some of these workers, who had never done any mining job before start working precariously and using Mercury, which as you may know is toxic for the environment.
Artisanal miners and mining often bring to mind crime, prostitution, violence, illegal immigration, police extortion, child labor, fiscal evasion, squalid living conditions, high rates of disease and frequent work-related injuries and fatalities.
So given this scenario, Medicus Mundi Mediterrània, a Barcelona-based non-governmental organisation, in collaboration with the EU and Centro Terra Viva (a local NGO), decided to respond.
The project aims to :
– raise awareness about the health repercussions of the use of mercury when mining gold
– introduce Borax method to replace Mercury
– train miners about the environment issue
– work on a community level and making sure that miners work professionally in the Cabo Delgalo Province
So far, few miners have been trained on using Borax and when chatting to them I was very happy to see that most miners actually understand the importance of using new and sustainable techniques.
So the project is providing legal assistance by helping them in getting their paper work done but also as important as that preventing the health aspect by introducing Borax methods to avoid Mercury becoming a threat for the environment.
I found the visit on the site visually very engaging and quite shocking at the same time and thought I could share with you some of the things I have seen while being there.
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or anything you want to share feel free to leave a comment! 🙂