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Vale: Moatize Coal Project in Mozambique

In Mozambique, Vale operates the Moatize Coal Project in Moatize – Tete province. Between late 2009 and early 2010, when setting up this project, Vale displaced and resettled more than 1,300 families in the communities of Chipanga, Mithete, and Malabwe in the Moatize province. Apart from the loss of their land, these families also suffered health impacts as a result of the dust produced by Vale’s mining activities, changes in social relations, destruction of livelihoods, and radical changes in traditional cultures due to the resettlement.

The resettlement process was mishandled from the beginning. Vale provided poor quality infrastructure and insufficient housing conditions with poor access to water. Furthermore, the land provided was inadequate for agricultural purposes, putting the nutrition of the communities at risk. Promises of compensation by Vale were not kept. The free movement of people and goods and the access to resources was restricted in the resettlement area.

Vale is also accused of violating workers’ rights by keeping them in precarious and short-term contractual relationships, and risking workers’ health by exposing them to compounds that cause allergies and pain.

The construction of Moatize coalmine also cost nearly 800 brickmakers (oleiros) their livelihoods. In April 2013, protestors, unhappy with the company´s compensation, blockaded road and rail access to the mine. Vale summoned local authorities who, according to local witnesses, dispersed the crowd by shooting protesters with rubber bullets. Following the blockade, Vale´s refusal to acknowledge the oleiros´ demands incited new rounds of protests. During one such protest, police arrested three oleiros and charged them with disturbing the peace and making death threats to a Brazilian Vale employee. However, the latter charge was dropped after the employee failed to identify any alleged perpetrators. Much of the local population and civil society organizations believe the charges brought upon the protesters are unjustly severe and suggest collusion between the Mozambican authorities and Vale. Witnesses claim that the police repeatedly target and arrest certain oleiros leaders. Several protesters who believe they were illegally detained filed an additional complaint against Vale, but have not received a response. Another peaceful demonstration was held on August 31, 2013, to elicit a response from the government and the company regarding their lack of regard for the plight of the oleiros.

Vale is also a frequent violator of labor rights in Mozambique. The company endangers employee health by exposing them to compounds known to have adverse health effects. Recently, Vale terminated several employees without providing fair grounds for their dismissal. The employees, however, all sought to preserve their rights while employed.

Justica Ambiental Mozambique. Research by Samuel Mondlane –2011 to 2013

Vale displaced communities in Cateme

The three brickmakers

Human Rights Watch (2013): “What is a house without food?

Ejolt (2013): “The resistance against Vale is growing worldwide