Rio Tinto: Critical reports on coal transports and resettlements in Tete province

This report is part of our former “Harmful Cases” documentation, where we continuously and concisely recorded human rights violations, violations of international law or environmental destruction caused by companies.

Environmental Damages and Resettlement in Mozambique

Critical voices have been raised on the social and environmental impacts of the Riversdale coal mine owned by the Rio Tinto Group. The mine is located in the Tete province in northwestern Mozambique.

The original 2 million tonnes of coal, planned to be shipped via the Zambezi River from Tete province to the coast, have increased to a proposed 12 million tonnes. According to government sources, the environmental impact of such a transport is quite negative and it is deemed impossible to use river transport for such operations.

Besides the uncertain environmental effect of coal transport, Rio Tinto has also been criticised for the way it has managed resettlements of families near the mining site. A report of the nongovernmental group SARW (Southern Africa Resource Watch) has highlighted several failures of the corporation in dealing with the people concerned. These include, among others, the separation of the community, early resettlement before basic structures such as water and electricity systems were working or schools and clinics were operating, and insufficient provision of information to the local population on the resettlement programme.

In response to the report Rio Tinto has entered into a dialogue with different stakeholders, and government initiatives were launched aimed at training local communities in monitoring mining companies.

Since April 2010 Rio Tinto holds the majority of shares in Riversdale Mining. The Anglo-Australian corporation is based in London and is one of the world’s largest mining companies.

Please find further information below:

Report of the SARW

On training programmes for communities

Africa Global Village

Steel Guru

Herald Sun