News / Africa

Mozambique Villagers Exposed to Open-Pit Coal Mine

Civil society groups in Mozambique are crying foul over the actions of an Indian coal-mining company in the remote, northeastern province of Tete.  They accuse Jindal Steel of conducting open-pit mining without first resettling communities who are now breathing in black dust from the pits.

According to the Mozambique-based lobby group Justica Ambiental, or Environmental Justice, at least 500 families are living less than a kilometer from where Indian company Jindal began open pit coal mining early this year.
 
The organization’s communications officer, Ruben Manna said the health risks are obvious. "It is a permanent cloud of coal.  They use dynamite on that mine to make it easier to extract coal, so every now and then when they blow explosives there is literally a cloud of coal flying through their community.  There are at least 100 children in that community.  It is not pretty," he said. "There are schools inside there."

Justica Ambiental accuses the company of going ahead with its operations without conducting an environmental impact study.

The head of Jindal Steel in Mozambique, Manoj Gupta, dismisses these claims, insisting an environmental study was carried out. "It was done a long time back, before we started operations, and issued by the government of Mozambique.  Somebody is just trying telling stories which are absolutely false," he said.

As to why 500 families have been living for months so close to an open pit mine, Gupta blames delays by the authorities in getting a resettlement plan approved. "People should ask this question to the government of Mozambique.  Because we have submitted the plan and on six August the government has approved the resettlement plan and it is going on now," he stated.

Tired of waiting for the land they had been promised, and unable to plant seeds to grow food, the community launched two days of violent protests against Jindal in late July, assaulting four of its employees, said Justica Ambiental.

Jindal Steel insists it enjoys good relations with the community, blaming the conflict on outsiders.

"I do not say that anybody from the community has created these problems.  People from outside have created this problem.  So we have made a police case and the police are doing an investigation," explained Gupta.

Just weeks after the protests erupted, Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza came to inaugurate the mine.  He did not mention the problems there.  

Mozambique’s government needs to do more to protect communities said Manna.

"The government is conniving with this and that is for sure.  At the end of the day Jindal, like Vale, like Rio Tinto, before that Riversadale.  They are just companies.  Their motive is profit," said Manna. "As a Mozambican I will hold my government accountable. They are the ones we will ask why is this happening and why are you not doing anything about it?"

Jindal is not the first foreign company cited for human-rights abuses in Mozambique’s Tete province, where major resettlements by Brazil’s Vale and Australia’s Rio Tinto have already taken place to make way for coal.  

Rights group Human Rights Watch said earlier this year that not enough is being done to safeguard communities amid the scramble for coal.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid