Maputo: Vale Mocambique, a subsidiary of the Brazilian mining company Vale, says it has spent over a billion US dollars on goods and services from more than 400 Mozambican companies in recent years. Vale is the largest mining company operating in the Moatize coal basin in the western province of Tete. Mining began in August last year and Vale has already exported over a million tonnes of coal.
Speaking on 4 June at the inauguration of the new coal terminal at the port of Beira, in central Mozambique, Vale's chief executive officer, Murilo Ferreira, said that his company is increasing its use of Mozambican businesses for the provision of goods and services.
"We are working to build a robust network of suppliers in Mozambique able to meet the technological and quality standards demanded by Vale and other major companies", said Ferreira.
He added that Vale will continue to improve its relations with local communities, which will include boosting income generating projects to enable local residents to diversify and achieve financial sustainability.
"This will be based on permanent dialogue with communities and will be in line with government's objectives for growth and economic development", he explained.
The relationship between mining companies and communities was highlighted at the beginning of this year when hundreds of residents resettled by Vale at Cateme, in the district of Moatize, held a number of demonstrations protesting that the houses they were given were shoddily built, with cracks appearing in the walls and leaking roofs.
On 10 January this problem hit the headlines when the residents blocked the Sena railway line, which runs from Moatize to the port of Beira, thus interrupting the movement of Vale's coal trains. The protestors were eventually dispersed by the riot police and 14 alleged ringleaders were arrested.
Since then, Vale in partnership with the Mozambican government has undertaken corrective measures to improve the living conditions of the residents.
In a statement received by AIM, Vale said that it has been carrying out a number of social activities at Cateme, as agreed earlier with the provincial government, which will benefit the affected community.
"This involves investments in public works, health, sport and agriculture, and includes repairs to houses, maintenance on the water supply, agricultural irrigation, expanding the electricity network, constructing a health clinic and improving public transport to Cateme", reads the document.
In addition, working in partnership with the National Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (INEFP), Vale is involved in a training programme for 152 residents of Cateme and another 104 from Moatize. This includes courses on carpentry, sewing, painting and small business management.
With the support of the Provincial Directorate of Labour, the company is also hiring 160 workers from Cateme.