The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy in Mozambique is set to conduct the first census of the small-scale mining sector this year across the country. The exercise will serve as a fundamental tool for better and sustainable management.
According to Minister Max Tonela, this census will enable the country to design better policies and draw up action plans to implement the right strategies to formalize the sector. “With the census, we expect to have qualitative and quantitative data about the people involved in small scale mining, its socio-economic impact on both the communities and the country’s economy,” said Tonela when opening a meeting that will discuss the small scale mining census, and the challenges facing the sector.
The minister further added that the exploration of mineral resources with which the country is abundantly endowed must be conducted in a sustainable and transparent way, so that its benefits contribute not only to improving the living standards of many Mozambicans, and creating job opportunities, but also to generating revenue to the companies which pay taxes and provide other benefits.
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Challenges in the mining sector
Despite the contribution of small scale mining to the country’s social and economic development, over the years, there are longstanding issues of concern to the government, which will therefore be targeted by the Social and Economic Plan in the mining sector.
According to Minister Tonela, some of the industry challenges are associated with smuggling and marketing of gems and gold through informal channels, the existence of illegal mining, the use of mining methods which cause environmental damage, and tax evasion.
“There is a very deep statistical information gap about the contribution of mining to the country’s development. Over the last few years the National Institute of Mines has been conducting reflections about the problems of small scale mining, in order to reach a better understanding of the sub-sector,” he said.