The community living next to Indian company Jindal’s coal mine in Tete province has threatened further disruptions in protest at a lack of progress on their resettlement away from the mine, currently situated less than 300 metres from their homes.
Last week, Jindal promised visiting reporters that it would hand over 150 homes to the community of Cassoca by the end of the year. To date, however, only eight have been completed, and work on more homes for the community’s 289 families is stalled.
Locals managed to stop operations at the mine on Wednesday 26 July, leading Jindal to stop its coal trucks from entering the site the following day too.
Members of the local community told Zitamar they were fed up with the company not fulfilling its promises of resettlement and compensation, saying if the situation is not resolved soon, they will shut down Jindal’s operation “definitively”.
Zitamar witnessed serious air pollution from the mine where the community lives, but perhaps more serious was a water crisis due to a breakdown of the only pump serving Cassoca, leading people to drink polluted water from local wells and streams.
Earlier this year, Mozambican media reported that the local community were effectively subject to a curfew enforced by Jindal.
Local community leader Juvencio Jeque told Zitamar that the community’s grievances are genuine, and warned the company could face more problems if it delays resettlement further. The community, Jeque said, is growing by the day, with children having grown up and moved into their own homes and started their own families in the community, since Jindal arrived.
A Jindal manager, who identified himself only as Adelino, told Zitamar by phone that the company is negotiating with the community along with the local government at the district level, to overcome the dispute.
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