“Take a stance against the destruction of the Mozambican coastline”: Catholic Peace Entity

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The leadership of the Dennis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) is calling on various stakeholders, including Catholics and members of the Laudato Si’ Movement to publicly express their opposition to the planned sand mining in the coastline of Mozambique. 

Sand mining in Jangamo and Inharrime districts of Mozambique’s Inhambane Province is set to begin in December this year. 

In a Wednesday, August 3 interview with ACI Africa, the Director of the peace entity of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) said the planned exploration will worsen the environmental situation of the country that is “most susceptible to climate change”.

“Catholics, the Laudato Si’ movement and environmental activists must take a stance against the destruction of the Mozambican coastline,” Johan Viljoen said, and added, “Just like environmental activists are worried about saving the amazon rainforest, we too should worry about saving the Mozambican coastline.”

Mr. Viljoen said that the sand dunes that have been identified for exploration help prevent floods in Inhambane Province.


“We've seen that Mozambique is one of the countries in the world that is most susceptible to climate change. Years ago, there was maybe a cyclone once every three years or every four years; now you have three or four terrible cyclones every season,” the Director of DHPI lamented. 

He added, “The only thing that prevents Inhambane province from being completely flooded every time is the vegetative sand dunes along the coast.”

“When those sand dunes are gone, the whole place will be underwater for months every summer,” the DHPI official further said. 

He continued, “We have advanced warning. Five years down the line that coastline will be transformed into an industrial wasteland, and if nothing is done to stop this, then we will have only ourselves to blame.”

Apart from making worse the environmental situation of the Southern African nation, Mr. Viljoen said that communities living along the Mozambican coastline risk being evicted from their homes if the planned sand mining goes on.

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“Along that entire stretch of coast, there are fishing villagers who will simply be evicted off their land with nowhere to go,” he said, adding that the displaced persons “will most likely end up living in camps.”

The Mozambican government gave Mutamba Mineral Sands the license to start exploring the sand dunes in Inhambane Province in December 2019. 

Mr. Viljoen told ACI Africa that research into the heavy sands in Jangamo and Inharrime started 13 years ago.

“The government’s concession to the Mozambican incorporated company Mutamba Mineral Sands to start heavy sands exploitation covers an area of 25,000 hectares,” he told ACI Africa during the August 3 interview. 

He added that the project, which has been valued at US$10 million “will strip the ancient sand dunes to extract titanium which is mostly used to make white paint, and zircon used in foundry casting as well as nuclear fuel rods… and in water and air purification systems.”


Mr. Viljoen said that Mozambique is being destroyed “because of greed for mineral resources”.

“Whether it’s the war in Cabo Delgado or the complete destruction of the environment in Inhambane province, the cause is the same,” he said, emphasizing the greed for mineral resources in the Southern African nation. 

The Director of the peace entity of the Catholic Bishops in Botswana, Eswatini, and South Africa underscored the need to address the challenge of greed.

He said, “We must tackle the problem at its roots. It's not enough at this stage to simply raise funds for donations to send food parcels to displaced people. The problem must be tackled by the roots.”

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.