Private entrepreneur allowed to prospect for gold near Mozambique’s Gorongosa Park

11 February 2010

Maputo, Mozambique 11 Feb – A Mozambican entrepreneur has been authorized to prospect for gold in a 2,500 hectare area in Tsiquir, near Gorongosa National Park in Sofala province, based on a licence valid until September 2014, the Maputo-based newspaper Noticias has reported.

The daily indicates that the businessman is currently mobilizing the equipment needed to begin prospecting. The project is considered a way to alleviate illegal prospecting for that mineral in the region.

Hundreds of Mozambicans and foreigners, especially from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania, carry out illegal gold prospecting in that region, which has contributed to pollution in Urema Lake, the main water source for animals in the park.

The director of mineral resources and energy in Sofala, Julio Mahumane, told Noticias that the central government’s initiative to licence private operators for gold prospecting should significantly lower theft of the mineral.

He stressed that the project would fully comply with the country’s current mining laws, above all when it is necessary to indemnify or resettle communities living in the mineral prospecting area.

The concessionaire must also carry out activities to promote social responsibility towards resident populations.

Gold is present in more than 3,000 hectares of the Gorongosa district, where it has been illegally exploited since 2003. Four years ago, landslides reportedly caused by prospecting activities caused six deaths. (macauhub)