04/02/2019

Mozambique | UK’s MRM-Gemfields will pay compensation for killings and beatings

Blog / By ZAM Reporter

Remember Gemfields? In 2017 we published a story by Estacio Valoi about the scandalous practices of British-Mozambican mining company MRM-Gemfields in Montepuez, Mozambique. The story later became part of a groundbreaking report by the African Investigative Publishing Collective (AIPC) and ZAM. ‘Rapes, robberies and deportations carried out by notorious police squad to keep the rubies for MRM-Gemfields alone’, we wrote. And: ‘The ruby fields of Montepuez in Mozambique, already a terrain of terror at the hands of security forces guarding the wealth to which UK-based gemstone giant MRM-Gemfields has the rights, are now violently being emptied of human beings. Hundreds of Mozambicans, foreigners, artisanal miners and random villagers, were told that their presence in the area is ‘illegal,’ have been forcibly removed, with rape, robberies and even murder by security forces as part of the process.’

The Mozambican politicians and generals, part owners of the venture, consistently refused to comment. The London-based headquarters of MRM-Gemfields sent in a lot of denials, which were reflected in the story. However, after publication, we were still accused of ‘gross distortions.'  PR people and lawyers hired by the company threatened us with legal action and financial claims. We published the correspondence and companies’ amendments to the story but we stuck to the essence of it. There was simply no reason why we should let our colleague, investigative journalist Estacio Valoi, down. He had spoken truth to power. 

Last week, at the end of January, 2019, the London High Court ruled that the JSE registered ruby company Gemfields had to pay almost 6 million Euros compensation to the communities of Montepuez for claims of killing 18 people, severe beatings and house burnings at its mine in northeastern Mozambique. The company is making the payment after mediation with no admission of liability. We rest this case and applaud Estacio Valoi for his tireless efforts to expose corrupt regimes and their multinational minions. To be continued.