Government studies ways to organize garimpo

By the middle of next year the Government will have concrete information about the artisanal mining activity in the country to define the best way to intervene to organize the sector. This Monday, the first mining census was launched in Nampula, which will be carried out by the National Institute of Statistics

Locality of Mavuco, Moma district, Nampula province. More than two years ago, the community discovered the existence of precious and semi-precious stones and gold, and from there began an intense activity of artisanal mining, which brings together hundreds of people of all genders and ages. And unlike other scenarios that we have already portrayed in reports, the massive presence of women, directly involved in the excavations, draws attention.

"We usually find clear and green stone," says Lídia Guilherme, a prospector.

The work is hard, but Rosa Alfredo, another female miner, defies everything and goes beyond what is socially established, where there are jobs for men and others for women. Even more, they face the risk of death that is permanent because the earth of Mavuco gives way easily, causing cave-ins - one of which happened a little over a month ago.

"I am afraid, but because of bankruptcy I have to face it. I have no husband. My husband died and left me with seven children. Weeding I don't catch anything."

Lúcia Issufo is another woman who at 40 years of age, her body shows signs of premature aging due to the heavy artisanal mining work to which she has been subjected since 2002. She has been digging and turning over the earth in search of precious and semi-precious stones for almost 20 years, and is proud to have children studying in high school thanks to her mining. "Even a 7-meter deep pit I can dig by myself.

The mineral resources that come out of the earth are so valuable and feed an illegal circuit of gem sale that involves nationals and foreigners. "The year before last I took a stone and managed to sell it for 100 thousand meticais. It weighed seven grams," remembers Isac Lucas.

The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, MIREM, wants to organize the artisanal mining activity in the country and launched this Monday the first mining census to collect information that will help define better policies for this sector. The data survey will be in charge of the National Institute of Statistics, INE.

"Once the field data collection phase is over, INE technicians with MIREM colleagues will be involved in the activities of critiquing and coding, data analysis and processing to ensure the publication of the data from this census. We will produce the first Atlas of artisanal miners after the data collection and processing," assured Alexandre Marrupi, national director of Censuses and Surveys at INE.

"The Government is committed to promoting actions that ensure the formalization of artisanal mining activity in the dissemination of practices that ensure risk reduction and we have seen several news in various parts of the country deaths that occur due to unsafe mining practices, as well as the use of products that are not environmentally recommendable and also in practices that ensure improved productivity and interconnection with markets to ensure more adjusted prices to the efforts made by artisanal miners," explained Max Tonela, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.

The exploitation of mineral resources contributes 9% of the Gross Domestic Product and it is believed that this percentage is far below what is desired, given the existing potential.

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