Moatize mining crisis

Mozambique / 2019

Since 2011, two open pit coal mines have been operating directly next to living spaces in Moatize, Mozambique. The operations of these mines, including mine blasting and heavy traffic, is releasing dust particles into the air, which fall over the nearby communities. While dust was never a problem before the mines were built, it is now constantly present, even when the mine isn’t active. The dust has polluted the air and water, and the mines have also taken control over water that the residents of Moatize depend on, and deforested areas for their mining operations. The dust causes severe health problems for residents.  Conflicts are arising in the area as a result of the pollution.  Some of these conflicts are between communities and mine companies, over land and water grabbing. This pollution is impinging upon residents’ fundamental rights to health and to an adequate standard of living .

The state of mozambique has failed to meet its obligation to protect the rights of people living in spaces that are impacted by mining activities, or to regulate the environmental impacts of these companies.  Neither the mining companies nor the government of Mozambique have provided these communities with information about the mine’s impacts.  This lack of information, and the absence of community members in decisions about the use of natural resources violate human rights which are recognized on regional, national, and international levels.