Sustainability: Zambezia Communities & companies on a collision course due to social benefits

The residents of Gilé are on a collision course with the mining companies and the government over the non-fulfilment of social responsibility measures accompanying the exercise of mining rights.

Local communities complain of not being able to see the social benefits of mining resources, since Gilé is currently experiencing an unprecedented water crisis, with few schools and health units, exacerbating poverty despite the area’s wealth of resources.

Mauricio Alberto, a young resident in the district town, said that youth unemployment is far from having a solution, crippling high school graduates’ dreams. Lack of employment has drastically reduced families’ purchasing power while the cost of basic foodstuffs rises almost daily.

Anita Eugénio, who graduated from high school two years ago, is finding it hard to get a job. It is unthinkable that natural resources so strengthen the balance sheets of the companies that exploit them while thousands of young people in the area lack social benefits such as employment and social infrastructure, Anita says. “Gilé remains poorer and the people live in total insecurity,” she adds.

The district of Gilé has great mineral potential in its abundance of tantalite, a mineral with applications in the electronic industry, aviation and paint production. Gilé’s population numbers more than 300,000, half of them young people.

Young people are asking for a greater share in mineral and other resources exploration projects, so that they can feel part of the development solution – of the district in particular, and of the province in general.

Deputy director of the Mineral Resources and Energy of Zambezia, Almeida Manhiça, however refutes the charge and says companies are complying with their social responsibility obligations.

At the moment, she explains, there is only one company active in Gilé, namely Eurosport, in Naipa. No others are operating, for various reasons.

Manhiça says that, since starting to exploit mineral resources in Gilé, Eurosport has built a primary school with three classrooms and sunk water boreholes, and that, in other districts, companies exploiting mineral resources are also fulfilling their obligations.

The infrastructure indicated by the government was indeed built, but ten or fifteen years ago, while the exploitation of resources continues.

The managers of the companies say that they comply with their fiscal obligations, and when the income from exports is good, they invest in the construction of water sources, sanitary units and other infrastructure.Source: Jornal Noticias

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