Friday, June 20, 2014


Mozambique’s Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC) has confirmed serious allegations of illegal exports of wood and evasion of taxes by two companies owned by Chinese citizens in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.The GCCC was alerted to these crimes by a British-based NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which looked at the figures from both the Mozambican and Chinese ends of the timber trade and spotted enormous discrepancies. The imports of Mozambican timber declared in China massively exceed the exports declared in Mozambique.According to the EIA report, in 2012 China recorded imports of wood (logs and sawn wood) of 450,000 cubic metres. Yet for the same year Mozambique recorded exports of wood of 260,385 cubic metres, not merely to China but to the entire world.
When the Chinese figures are broken down, 323,000 cubic metres of the wood imports from Mozambique are logs. The total exports of logs in the Mozambican records are just 41,543 cubic metres.Discrepancies on this scale cannot be dismissed as mathematical or accounting mistakes. They indicate that hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of wood were exported illegally to China in 2012, mostly in the form of unprocessed logs.A press release from the GCCC said that prosecutors investigated the allegations against the companies Mozambique First International Development Ltd (Mofid) and Senlian International Investment Corporation in Mozambique Ltd, and found strong evidence that both were involved in smuggling precious hardwoods.One of the companies (the GCCC does not specify which) exported almost 6,400 cubic metres of wood, in the form of logs, planks and boards in 2011 and 2012 without possessing the necessary authorisations from the Mozambican authorities.The second company, between 2007 and 2009, exported over 3,800 cubic metres of blackwood (pau preto) logs without paying the taxes owing. Furthermore, first class hardwoods should never be exported as logs, but only after processing.Under the Mozambican definition, these acts do not constitute crimes of corruption. But they do fall under the category of administrative infractions and tax offences. The GCCC has thus informed the Cabo Delgado Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT) so that the cases “may be dealt with appropriately”. The GCCC promises that the Public Prosecutor’s Office will follow these cases.But the GCCC could find no evidence that the Mozambican citizens named in the EIA report had any holdings in the two companies. Delicately, the release declines to mention who these citizens are – but anyone who bothers to look up the EIA report will find that the Mozambicans named as supposedly involved in timber smuggling are Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco and the former governor of Tete province, Tomas Mandlate.The allegations against Pacheco were always very flimsy, amounting to no more than boasts by one of the owners of MOFID, Liu Chaoying, that he had close relations with the minister.
EIA investigators, posing as clients, talked to Liu, who told them that he could export large quantities of hardwoods Liu claimed close connections with Pacheco, claiming “me and him are like brothers”, describing him as “a friend”, and alleging that when the Minister “needs money, he has come looking for me”.Such claims of close ties with Pacheco may only be the idle boast of a crooked businessman trying to impress someone he believes to be a client. Pacheco roundly denied the allegations.As for Mandlate, EIA investigators say they met him at the home of a man named Xu in Pemba in September 2012. Xu is a senior official in the second company, Senlian. Mandlate was staying at Xu’s house during the Frelimo Tenth Congress held in Pemba during that month. According to the report, Mandlate claimed that his role is “to help the company solve some problems”.Xu supposedly said that Mandlate “takes care of the liaison work, such as export quotas, and forest concession permits”, for which the Chinese company paid him a salary and gave him a share of the company.But Senlian ran into trouble in April 2012, when 34 of its containers full of illegal logs were seized, resulting in large fines and forcing Senlian to suspend log exports for the rest of the year. Nonetheless, Xu hoped that Mandlate would smooth the way to resuming illegal exports. “He will sort it out for me next year”, he claimed.Mandlate strongly denied any involvement with Xu in the illegal timber trade. And if he was indeed given a share in Senlian, it was not registeredBut the question of whether Mozambican officials held shares in Mofid or Senlian is irrelevant. The main accusation against Pacheco and Mandlate in the EIA report is not that they were shareholders, but that they facilitated illegal exports. The GCCC release does not tackle this allegation. 


The British company Gemfields announced on Wednesday that the inaugural auction in Singapore of rubies from its Mozambican partner, Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM), raised 33.5 million US dollars.The uncut stones were sold in an auction that ran from 12 to 17 June. A Gemfields press release claimed the market “reacted enthusiastically” to the Mozambican rubies, with a strong attendance by potential buyers at the auction.Gemfields took 2.03 million carats of rubies and corundum to Singapore in 62 batches. Corundum is an extremely abrasive crystalline form of aluminium oxide, and rubies are corundum stones that are coloured between pink and blood red.  57 of the 62 batches were sold – with a total weight of 1.82 million carats (90 per cent of the total weight). One carat is 200 milligrams. The auction resulted in an average price of 18.43 dollars per carat.The chief executive officer of Gemfields, Ian Harebottle, cited in the release, said that the full results of the Singapore auction would be repatriated to Mozambique and to MRM (in which Gemfields has a 75 per cent holding). He pledged that the royalties to be paid to the Mozambican state “will be in line with the total sales at the auction”.Many of the buyers were from Thailand and were participating in a Gemfields auction for the first time. Other came from the United States, Germany, India and Israel, among other .Gemfields describes itself as the world’s largest producer of coloured gemstones. It has previously specialized in Zambian emeralds and amethysts, and has now branched out into Mozambican rubies.At a Maputo press conference in early June, Harebottle predicted that the MDM ruby mines in Montepuez would become one of Mozambique’s largest taxpayers. He said that up until 2013 seven million carats of rubies had been mined.


Mozambique’s publicly owned National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian oil company Rosneft, for the joint development of exploration projects.
According to an ENH press release, the agreement was signed during the 21st World Petroleum Congress, held in Russia. The agreement also seeks to identify areas of mutual interest, and could eventually lead to joint hydrocarbon production.The memorandum was signed by the chairperson of the ENH Board, Nelson Ocuane, and the ENH Director of Research and Production, Paulino Gregoria, and by the chairperson of Rosneft, Igor Sechin. Cited in the press release, Ocuane said that association with a company such as Rosneft constitutes an added value for ENH and for the country.“This company is a leader in the Russian petroleum industry, and we want to bring it to Mozambique, bearing in mind the potential that still exists for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, and the technical capital which this country offers”, explained Ocuane. 


The National Council of Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo will meet in the central city of Beira on Monday, but the party’s leader, Afonso Dhlakama, will not be present, reports Friday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”.This will be the first time that Dhlakama has not chaired the National Council. He is still living in a military base somewhere on the slopes of the Gorongosa mountain range, and is refusing to leave until he receives “security guarantees” from the government.“Mediafax” says there will be four points on the agenda – a discussion of the current political and social situation, a programme for government if Renamo wins the general elections scheduled for 15 October, the ratification and proclamation of a presidential candidate, and approval of reports from the local conferences that are choosing parliamentary and provincial assembly candidates.No-one seriously doubts that Dhlakama will be proclaimed the Renamo presidential candidate. Without waiting for the formal decision, Renamo members throughout the country have already been collecting the supporting signatures Dhlakama needs for a presidential bid. Every presidential candidate must present at least 10,000 supporting signatures from registered voters, each of them authenticated by a public notary.One result of the Renamo National Council meeting is that the next round in the long-running dialogue between Renamo and the government, normally held on Mondays at the Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre in Maputo, has been postponed.There was no meeting last Monday because the leaders of the government delegation were not available. 
Renamo has informed the government that its delegation cannot attend a dialogue session on 23 June, because the members will be at the National Council meeting. Renamo had wanted a meeting some time this week so that the two delegations could sign what is supposed to be a “final document” from the dialogue, which would allow Dhlakama to leave his hideout (although the government has repeatedly guaranteed that Dhlakama is free to travel wherever he likes). The government repeated that this week its delegation was not available.Renamo’s proposal is that the next dialogue session could be held on Friday or Saturday. If these dates are not acceptable to the government, the meeting will probably be postponed to next Monday, 30 June.Contacted by “Mediafax”, Renamo spokesperson Antonio Muchanga, said he regretted that the celebrations next Wednesday of the 39th anniversary of Mozambican independence cannot be held in peace – and proceeded to blame the government, although it is Renamo gunmen who are ambushing convoys on the main north-south road, and attacking military vehicles in Gorongosa district.He claimed, against all the evidence, that Renamo has done all in its power to return peace to Mozambicans “but the other party (i.e. the government) does not have the same flexibility, sensitivity and interest”.


Mozambique’s Ministry of State Administration has rejected as illegal the proposal made by the Sofala provincial government to divide the city of Beira in two.Two alternative proposals were made for dividing the city. In the more radical one, Beira would be reduced to a fairly small area centred on the port. Only eight of the current 26 neighbourhoods would remain under an elected municipal jurisdiction. Beira would lose densely populated neighbourhoods such as Munhava and Manga, and all the city’s expansion areas. Key facilities such as the city garbage dump, the cemetery and the airport would fall outside of municipal jurisdiction. In an alternative, less radical proposal, Beira would keep 13 neighbourhoods, including Munhava. But in either case, the Municipal Council would lose buildings and facilities that it has built over the past few years with municipal funds.The areas carved out of the city would form a separate Beira district, under an unelected administrator. The permanent secretary of the Sofala government, Claudina Mazolo, claimed that this decision was “irreversible”, and the city would be split in two some time later this year.
Far from being “irreversible”, the decision was quashed by the central government within a week. The Deputy Minister of State Administration, Jose Tsambe, met on Thursday with the mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, and assured him that the city will not be cut in two.A senior source in Simango’s party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), assured  on Friday that the meeting had taken place, and plans to divide Beira had been thrown out. “It’s back to square one”, the MDM source said.This outcome was predictable, since the idea to carve up Beira was flagrantly unconstitutional. Article 274 of the Constitution states that changing the boundaries of any municipality requires prior consultation with the municipal bodies (the mayor, the Municipal Council and the Municipal Assembly). There had been so such consultation.Furthermore, changes in the territorial administration are made by law, and not by administrative fiat. When the government proposed creating 13 new districts, by splitting existing ones, it did not simply issue a decree, but submitted a bill on the matter to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, which passed it into law last year.Clearly dividing Beira, and shoving most of its existing neighbourhoods into a new Beira rural district would also have to be approved by parliament.Had the Sofala provincial government persisted with its illegal plans it could have provoked serious trouble on the streets of Beira, where Simango and the MDM enjoy mass support. In last November’s municipal elections, Simango was re-elected mayor with over 70 per cent of the vote. 


The WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) has called for urgent international action in the wake of new statistics on elephant poaching in Mozambique.According to an aerial survey commissioned by WWF-Mozambique, up to 900 elephants died in the north of the county over a three year period. The survey of the Quirimbas National Park found that between 480 and 900 elephants died in the area between 2011 and 2013. From the air the researchers saw that almost half the elephants sighted were carcasses. According to Anabela Rodriguez, Country Director of WWF-Mozambique, “the elephant deaths are probably due to illegal hunting and the losses are likely to be devastating to the population”.WWF International’s Policy Expert on Wildlife Trade, Colman O’Criodain lamented, “Mozambique has emerged as one of the main places of the slaughter of elephants and ivory transit in Africa and as a profitable warehouse for transit and export of rhino horn for the Asian markets”. He added, “we need to see urgent action and ongoing commitment to combat these illegal activities”.In April the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, passed a bill dramatically increasing the penalties for poaching, particularly of endangered species, such as rhinoceros or elephants.The law proposes prison sentences of between eight and 12 years for people who kill, without a licence, any protected species, or who use banned fishing gear, such as explosives or toxic substances. The same penalty will apply to people who set forests or woodlands on fire (poachers often use fire to drive animals into the open).Anybody using illegal firearms or snares, even if they do not catch protected species, can be sentenced to two years imprisonment.In addition, those found guilty of the illegal exploitation, storage, transport or sale of protected species will be fined between 50 and 1,000 times the minimum monthly national wage in force in the public administration (at current exchange rates, that would be a fine of between 4,425 and 88,500 US dollars).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hello friend Emilio...

How you care? And your whole family? I'm fine, thankfully.
But I am totally baffled by a story that began circulating a few days ago. Since it seems that some very bright minds (must have own generators ...) in Sofala decided decrease Beira! Yes, you're quite understand, reduce the area of the city. What does this mean? I mean that part of the city led by MDM and Simango would be reduced to a few blocks and all the rest of the city would become the "district of Beira" governed by an administrator appointed by the State, ie, Frelimo . You gonna tell me that it does not go through the Devil's head. And I agree. But it occurred to one, or more, party members who said he was the father of Mozambican democracy.  For these paternal Democrats remove the MDM part of the territory it won in the ballot box seems perfectly normal. Make all voting, which gave the vote to MDM, those areas that are left out, start to be governed by an administrator Frelimo is democracy at its best. I believe that someone in the dome of the Frelimo party, going on walks, walks to abuse soruma. I see no other explanation ... It seems clear that if this idea is ideótica forward, the population of the border comes to the streets, violently. And we watch the 40 clowns custom agreeing that violence is not that resolve the problems. But violence is not against the Constitution and many other laws, this aberrant idea? Will, if the MDM win the presidential election, will reduce the territory of the country to that building at Julius Nyerere and the entire rest of Mozambique continues to be ruled by Frelimo party?
It's all crazy?
A hug for you than
Machado da GraçaMAIL MORNING - 06/17/2014

Friday, June 6, 2014


The price of shares in the Australian company Triton Minerals increased by over sixty per cent on Wednesday as the company released details of its latest geological observations on its Balama North Project, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.On Wednesday the company revealed that it has once again found “very significant graphitic mineralisation over a considerable thickness at the Nicanda Hill prospect on the Balama North Project”.According to Triton’s managing director, Brad Doyle, the latest finding “has again confirmed the world class potential of the Balama North Project. To intercept an astounding 316 metres cumulative width of graphite mineralisation in a single drill hole and this mineralisation remains open at depth is a very exciting result”.Triton states that “these latest drill results continue to confirm the Company’s belief that the Balama North Project can potentially host a market leading and world class graphite deposit. It is anticipated that this drilling will provide the necessary data to estimate a Mineral Resource for this prospect by early 2015”.
The series of positive results from drilling at the site suggest that Triton has a world class deposit of graphite.The concession sits next to the Balama Graphite and Vanadium Project run by Syrah Resources. According to Syrah, Balama contains far more graphite that the known reserves in the rest of the world.Syrah is at a more advanced stage of exploiting the resources than Triton. It has already entered into an agreement to supply the China Aluminum International Engineering Corporation (Chalieco) with between 80,000 and 100,000 tonnes of graphite per year. Another deal, with British company Asmet, will see it sell between 100,000 and 150,000 tonnes per year at a price of one thousand US dollars per tonne. Furthermore, it is in discussion with a third major company and is due to announce the details later this month.Syrah expects to be one of the world’s lowest cost producers and plans to recoup the mine’s hundred million dollar development costs in its first year of production, which could be in 2016.If Triton does have the graphite deposits that the initial findings suggest, Mozambique will become the world’s major source for the mineral, given its low production costs and access to markets through the port of Pemba.Graphite is a form of carbon that is highly valued due to its properties as a conductor of electricity. It is used in batteries and fuel cells and is the basis for the “miracle material” graphene, which is the strongest material ever measured, with vast potential for use in the electronics industries.


Mozambican Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse on Wednesday reiterated that the first exports of coal from the new port under construction at Nacala-a-Velha, in the northern province of Nampula, will take place in December.According to a report in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Muthisse, speaking in the western city of Tete at a meeting of his Ministry’s Coordinating Council, said that the Nacala-a-Velha coal terminal will have the capacity to store 1.45 million tonnes of coal.Nacala-a-Velha is opposite the existing port of Nacala on the other side of Nacala Bay. It will be connected to the Moatize coal basin by a 900 kilometre long railway running across southern Malawi, and financed by the Brazilian mining company Vale. The government has signed a concession on the new port and on coal traffic along the railway with the Integrated Nacala Logistics Corridor (CLN), a consortium that is 80 per cent owned by the Brazilian mining giant Vale, and 20 per cent by Mozambique's publicly owned port and rail company, CFM.According to CLN officials, the entire project is costing 4.4 billion US dollars. 
The coal terminal at Nacala-a-Velha will be able to export 18 million tonnes of coal a year.According to Muthisse, the coal trains will be enormous, consisting of 120 wagons pulled by four lomotives. Such a train will be 1.5 kilometres long. CLN is importing 80 locomotives to deal with traffic along the Moatize-Nacala line.By 2015, the line should have the capacity to move 11 million tonnes of cargo a year, rising to 18 million tonnes in 2017.Muthisse told the meeting that those working in transport and communications should feel proud at the contribution they have made to reducing poverty, to social inclusion and cohesion and to wealth production.


Sea level rise is a harsh reality in the Bay of Maputo, with coastal erosion eating away at the Xefina archipelago, reports Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.The archipelago today consists of three islands, Xefina Grande, Xefina Pequena and Xefina do Meio. The largest, Xefina Grande, is just five kilometres from Maputo’s Costa do sol beach.In 1942 the Portuguese colonial regime installed artillery on Xefina Grande to defend the coast against possible attack. Those cannons were 600 metres from the shoreline. Today, 72 years later, the five cannons have practically been swallowed up by the sea. In other words, over that period, the sea has advanced 600 metres into Xefina Grande.According to a fisherman named Paulo Mangaze, who accompanied the “O Pais” reporters, up until 2000 Xefina do Meio was joined to Xefina Grande. In the floods of 2000, the island was split in two.
Mangaze refused to take his boat right up to the sinking cannons, because there were once houses here that are now under water and could pose a threat to boats.Xefina was once used as a prison. Mozambican nationalists and railway workers arrested after a 1926 strike were incarcerated here. About 30 people still live on Xefina Grande – even though the island has no school, no shops and so source of fresh water, so that everything must be brought in from the mainland. An elderly native of Xefina, known as Grandma Aida, told the reporters in a resigned tone “This island is going to disappear”.Prominent environmentalist Carlos Serra is worried that she may be right. He told the paper “Intervening in Xefina today is very complicated, but if we do nothing, we risk losing a natural protective barrier for Maputo city”.Xefina offers some protection against the waves of the Indian Ocean for the Maputo coastline. “Imagine what erosion in Maputo would be like if Xefina did not exist”, said Serra.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Mozambican rubies are to be auctioned in Singapore, according to Ian Harbottle, Chief Executive Office of the British company Greenfields, which is working in partnership with the Mozambican company Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM). Gemfields describes itself as the world’s largest producer of coloured gemstones. It has specialized in Zambian emeralds and amethysts, and has now branched out into Mozambican rubies.At a Maputo press conference on Tuesday introducing MRM, Harbottle said that the rubies will be auctioned some time in the next fortnight. He claimed that the auction would allow “transparency and fair prices”.“We’re going to hold an auction. We want a fair price and we want the money to come back to the company that produced the stones”, said Harbottle. “The company can pay its taxes, it can pay its works and it can make its investments”. “When we sell the Mozambican rubies, we want every cent to return to Mozambique”, he declared. The ruby mines in Montepuez, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, would become one of Mozambique’s largest taxpayers, Harbottle predicted.We want to help build Mozambique, guaranteeing that we comply with the law and that when we export, we do so legally”, he said. “We are obeying the law. We are paying taxes. Later there will be dividends. These dividends will go the shareholders who made the investment”. Up until 2013, seven million karats of rubies had been mined in Montepuez, and Harbottle said that half of these stones would be sold at the Singapore auction.Rubies vary greatly in price, depending on their quality (which is assessed on factors such as colour, size and cut). Medium quality rubies could cost between 100 and 400 US dollars per carat (a carat, the standard measure for precious stones, is equivalent to 200 milligrams). Top quality rubies fetch much higher prices. The world record price was set at a New York sale in 2005, when a Burmese ruby, of slightly more than eight carats, sold for 2.2 million dollars. Even if the Mozambican stones only fetch 100 dollars a carat, the Singapore auction could raise 350 million dollars.Gemfields says it has invested about 30 million dollars in the Montepuez mines. The chairperson of the board of its partner, MRM, is Samora Machel Junior, son of Mozambique’s first president, and its manager of corporate affairs is Raime Pachinuapa, son of Raimundo Pachinuapa, who was one of the senior guerrilla commanders in Mozambique’s war for independence from Portuguese colonial rule. 


Gunmen of Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo on Tuesday morning mounted two attacks on a convoy on the country’s main north-south highway in the central province of Sofala, according to the Mozambican police.The head of public relations of the Sofala provincial police command, Daniel Macuacua, told reporters that both attacks were against the same convoy, which was travelling under military escort from the small town of Muxungue to the Save river, on the boundary with Inhambane province. The first attack came at about 09.15, in the area of Zove, shortly after the convoy had left Muxungue. This was in exactly the same place as the Renamo attack against the Monday morning Muxungue-Save convoy.“After intensive clashes, the bandits fled in disarray, and the convoy continued its journey”, said Macuacua. “But the convoy was attacked again, at about 09.45 by another group of bandits”. The second attack occurred in Muntingoti.Macuacua said that, in the first attack four civilians and one soldier were injured, and in the second two people were injured, one soldier and one civilian. This contradicts the initial reports given on Tuesday by the independent television station STV, which spoke of three people killed as well as seven injured.On Monday Renamo spokesman Antonio Muchanga announced the end of the truce which Renamo had supposedly been observing, on the orders of its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, since 7 May.People wishing to travel overland between the north and south of the country have no choice but to use the Muxungue-Save stretch of road. Should Renamo succeed in closing the road, that would have severe consequences for the Mozambican economy.Macuacua pledged that the defence and security forces will do all in their power to protect the road and guarantee a safe journey for the users. He promised that this task would involve “pursuing the bandits to wherever may be necessary”.