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André Buta Neto: mining is not incompatible with turtle protection

The national director of Mineral Resources, André Buta Neto, said this Wednesday that cases of illegal mining are “sporadic” and that this activity is not incompatible with the protection of turtles, as long as the spawning period is safeguarded.


André Buta Neto spoke this Wednesday to Lusa following a complaint about the exploitation of titanium along the coast of Namibe (southern province) that led the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas (Mirempet) to issue a statement about the subject.

According to Mirempet, the company, which appeared in a video posted on social media, is not licensed and would be carrying out the activity illegally, but the person responsible for Mineral Resources told Lusa that the legalization process is underway, in compliance with the Angolan Mining Code.

André Buta Neto said that the matter came to the attention of the ministry about two weeks ago, through the video that circulates on social networks, having suspended the activity of the company, which was installed on the site before receiving authorization.

The national director of Mineral Resources stressed that a delegation will travel to Namibe later this week to verify the situation.

Asked if cases like this are recurrent, the official said that there are some companies that, when they apply for legalization, are already working in the area, especially when they are cooperatives.

"We have many cooperatives that request areas for exploration and that are already there, it's more about legalizing the activity than requesting admission to exercise the activity, but it's a sporadic case, we can't say it's a rule, which is usual for this to happen, there is control", he guaranteed.

André Buta Neto, also assured that nothing prevents the company from developing its activity in that area, which the complaint indicates is frequented by turtles.

"It is not out of the possibility of developing the activity, hence the ministry is handling the process", he said.

"I have given an example of diamond exploration in Namibia, it is carried out at sea, so it is not new for the mining activity to develop titanium exploration in this area, but it must be done in compliance with the existing rules at national level", added the official, noting that the company in question may be legalized.

"It may [be legalized], it is illegal because it has not yet complied with the necessary procedures for the activity, but it will not be impossible for the activity to be developed there. Even if there are turtles, according to the video", he said.

The official stresses that the turtles do not spawn throughout the year, but in limited periods.

"If a rule is imposed in the sense that, in the months of November and December, there can be no mining activity, because that is the period in which the turtles come to lay their eggs, what is the harm they have", he questioned.

The video also mentions that Chinese citizens are in charge of the company, but André Buta Neto informed that the entity that requested the area for exploration is national.

"The company that requested is a national company, now if the technicians there [are Chinese], I don't know what nationality they are, because we were taken by surprise like that, but I can guarantee that it's not a Chinese company," he said.

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