Kenmare accused of reneging on pledges to families near mine

Irish mining company criticised in report by Washington-based Center for Public Integrity

The Moma mine, in the northern Nampula province, produces ilmenite and rutile, used in steelmaking, as well as zircon, which can be used in television and computer screens.

The Moma mine, in the northern Nampula province, produces ilmenite and rutile, used in steelmaking, as well as zircon, which can be used in television and computer screens.

 

Irish mining company Kenmare Resources, which has its main project in Mozambique, has been criticised by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity (CPI), which said it has not met pledges made to people near its site.

Infrastructure upgrades around the Momo mine promised by Kenmare have not materialised, schools the Dublin-based company built are not connected to the power grid and housing for families displaced by the project is inadequate, Borges Nhamire, a researcher for CPI’s local unit in Maputo, wrote in a report.

Kenmare claimed the criticisms were unfair and that it is meeting its obligations under contracts signed with the government in 2002. The Moma mine, in the northern Nampula province, produces ilmenite and rutile, used in steelmaking, as well as zircon, which can be used in television and computer screens.

Last year, the Center for Public Integrity said Kenmare should have paid Mozambique more tax, a claim the company rejected. “Once again, we’ve been rather unfairly treated with this report,” Gareth Clifton, Kenmare’s project manager, said.

According to the centre, Kenmare undertook to arrange financing for an electricity transmission line taking power to the mine and surrounding villages, and for a road leading to the mine. While the transmission line is in place, many local houses are still not connected to the grid, it said.

The road hasn’t been sealed and is impassable in the rainy season. Houses, Power Kenmare ensures the dirt road is usable, so that trucks can reach its facility year round, and by doing so fulfills its contracted responsibilities, Clifton said.

Kenmare has built seven schools near the mine, two of which are aren’t linked to the power grid, he said. Connecting those to electricity supply is the up to the schools or the local municipality, not the company, he said.

Housing provided for displaced families was built to World Bank specifications, with each allocated a 50 square-meter plot, Mr Clifton said.

Kenmare has slumped 79 per cent in London trading this year, giving the company a market value of about £124 million.

Bloomberg