28 December 2020
MRM Resettles 105 Families in New Village in Namanhumbir
MRM confirmed today that it has delivered the first and main phase of its Resettlement Action Plan, the resettlement of 105 families from Nthoro. The resettlement has been successfully completed despite delays resulting fromCovid-19 restrictions and other ongoing challenges.
This phase includes the completion and handover of the new village in Namanhumbir, built by the mining company to re-house families that were residing in Nthoro, a village situated within the MRM concession.
Seven villages are situated within the MRM licence. These are Mpene, Namanhumbir, Nanhupo A, Nanhupo B, Nanune, Nseue and Nthoro. Save for Nthoro, the villages and villagers will remain in the locations they have occupied since MRM began operating on site in 2012. Under Mozambican law and following international best practice standards (International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standard-5), involuntary resettlement and livelihoods restoration cannot occur without following due process centred around the principles of “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC). This FPIC process takes a number of years and involves extensive consultations and administrative approvals with local communities and government authorities at local, district and national level. MRM undertook this FPIC process and decided early on (prior to full-scale operations) to prioritise avoidance of resettlement in order to minimise social, cultural and economic disruption. All seven village communities were consulted prior to this decision, but only one village, Nthoro, was identified for resettlement. The legitimate and censused Nthoro residents (which amounts to 105 families) have now moved into the newly constructed village, and we believe their quality of life will be vastly improved.
The new village in Namanhumbir and the associated farmlands cover an area of 2,400 hectares. In addition to providing 105 homes to the resettled families, the village has access to power and water, a primary school, market, church, mosque, civil buildings, a market, agricultural land for each home and a recreational park for children to play in.
Cassiano Barnabé, Head of the Namanhumbir post, said: “The benefits of this change for the community are many. Before, everything was far away, but now everything is close by, allowing the community better access to public services. I saw how happy the families are with their new houses.”
Each family has received a title of Land Title (DUAT) granted by the State, for an area of 5,000 m2, which includes the main house, all additional infrastructure and two hectares of farming land.
According to the Montepuez Administrator, Isaura Máquina, today’s handover has satisfied both the residents themselves and also the government. “This has a great impact on our communities, as they move to conventional houses, with drinking water and electricity, which will improve their quality of life. Furthermore, the new houses will boost the development of our district.”
Just over a year ago, MRM successfully developed a vocational training centre (VTC) within the village as part of its commitment to ongoing community development. Graduates of the training centre played a pivotal role in the construction of the new village, bringing further income to the local area. At a cost of USD 1.4 million for the project, the VTC facilities incorporate an administrative block, two classrooms, two workshops, changing rooms and two employee residences and will train 2,100 young locals over seven years.
Earlier this year, MRM’s community liaison team had the privilege of talking to Deolinda Jerónimo, aged 30, mother of five children and a resident of the Nthoro community. She was hired by the company that built the new resettlement village after attending the MRM-funded Namanhumbir Vocational Training Centre course in 2018.
She said: “I’ve seen a lot of changes in my life since I attended the training course. Previously I did not have a job and depended on my parents. Now, in addition to earning my own money, I had the opportunity to be involved in building my own home.”
This month, we spoke with her again in her new home. Deolinda is now pregnant with her sixth child and declared, “I am very grateful for this change, I am sleeping more comfortably and my house has energy. I want to see my children studying and taking over my business – selling badjia (Indian dumplings) and wines.”
After two years, it was a dream come true for Deolinda to be in her new home.
We spoke to other residents as they settled in:
“I believe that with the school so close to home, my children’s lives will improve and they will have more opportunities. We were very isolated in Nthoro,” said Lucas, a resident in the new village of Namanhumbir.
“I am happy to see my children playing in the park. I will enrol my youngest son in the primary school and my eldest in the Vocational Training Centre,” said Jeremias Luís, a resident in the new village of Namanhumbir.
The resettlement process has been a collaborative one with residents being shown a model of the houses in advance, and given the opportunity to provide their feedback, which has been incorporated to inform the homes we see today. Members of each family visited the site throughout the process to familiarise themselves with the houses and see how the construction was going.
MRM Chairman, Samora Machel Júnior, added: “The construction of the village has always been a priority for us, despite the difficulties imposed by Covid-19, in a year in which we have not had any turnover. Despite this, we continue to ensure that our communities have a better quality of life.”
The provision of farming land will be incorporated within the second phase of the project – the establishment of a livelihoods restoration programme – which will generate income for the beneficiaries. Due to a number of complex land-use constraints, this project phase is currently still being resolved by various technical and policy-making bodies in Mozambique and MRM. The livelihoods project will commence as soon as the government is able to resolve these issues.
Over the next three years, MRM will continue to support these communities and make sure they are integrated and well-maintained.