Legal, illegal Mozambique rubies and legal Angola diamonds in the spotlight – by Keith Campbell ( – January 29, 2016)

Mozambique mining company Montepuez Ruby Mining Limitada has made public its concerns about unfair competition by illegal miners.

The company operates a ruby and corundum mine at Namanhumbir, in the Montepuez district, which lies in the southern region of Cabo Delgado Province. It is 75%-owned by British (London Stock Exchange Aim-listed) enterprise Gemfields and 25% by local business Mwiriti Limitada.

Montepuez Ruby Mining chairperson Asghar Fakir told the Notícias newspaper that illegal mining was still a common occurrence in the area, despite a small decline.

“The phenomenon is not yet fully under control,” he said. “There are foreigners here plundering the country’s resources without paying taxes. There is a lot of money coming out of Namanhumbir – about 250-million dollars worth of rubies are exported illegally from Namamhumbir annually.”

Company executive Saul Machine urged government to crack down on illegal mining as, unlike his company, the illegal miners did not pay any taxes. “The State is losing a lot of money due to the nonpayment of taxes – money that should be helping develop the country and building public infrastructure such as schools and so on,” he highlighted.

Last year, Montepuez Ruby Mining paid taxes to the Mozambique authorities totalling some 320-million metícais (about $7-million). It was viewed as the best taxpayer in Cabo Delgado and was singled out by the country’s Tax Authority as one of the major contributors to Mozambique’s balance of payments.

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