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Goliath gets the upper hand

Local communities are finding it harder to hold mining companies to account

Good afternoon. We report on the second story in as many days of a Chinese heavy sands mining company being accused of failing to meet its obligations to the local community (see below). The company in question is Haiyu Mozambique Mining, which has been operating in Nampula province for over 10 years. In the past it has been blamed for helping to cause damaging floods in Angoche district when it destroyed drainage channels. The issue came before parliament in 2019, but it failed to act.

Now Haiyu and one of its staff stand accused of persuading people to accept lower compensation than they should have for the loss of their land, and of bribing local government and judicial officials to not to intervene. In this case, an executive at Haiyu is facing legal action.

Such action against mining companies is not uncommon, but not only does it rely on the judges being impartial — something that cannot be relied on, as judges are known to take bribes — but it has also been known to drag on for years as companies appeal cases and spin them out. Compensation can be forthcoming, but it can come very late, which may be never for some people.

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