Government has promised to perk up legislation and service delivery in the mining industry.

Letícia Klemens, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister said the country’s minerals licensing and commercialisation processes will be improved to strengthen controls on the small-scale and artisanal mining sector.

She revealed that government has to date, issued 234 minerals licences and concessions and more than 4 000 research and prospecting licences.

“Of the 234 licences and concessions that have been issued, we have only ten in the phase of preparing (literally: prospecting) for production, which is still very little,” she said.

“This reflection is going to permit us to analyse the constraints and identify a better form of inspecting all the [minerals] activities in the country, so we will have adequate information about the quantity and quality of the existing resources.”

She however bemoaned that licences reserved for Mozambique citizens had been ‘rented out’ to foreigners: “something that emphasises that we have difficulties in controlling our mineral resources”.

The Minister affirmed that government intended to organise small-scale and artisanal miners into cooperatives.

So far it has initiated a pilot project which involved giving such miners ‘passwords’ permitting prospecting ‘to see if this project is viable’.