Impacts of artisanal gold mining in Mozambique

The artisanal gold mining contributes to deforestation, wildfires and soil degradation. CEC member Tomas Muacanhia is working to mitigate the imact by communicating conservation measures.

Partial view of turbidity in Revué River.

By CEC member Tomas Muacanhia, Isidro Manuel, Lourenco Magaia & Olavo Deniasse

In Mozambique, the artisanal gold mining has negative environmental and socio-economic impacts. Mass media has been involved to mobilize and deliver conservation actions that are needed to mitigate the problem on artisanal gold mining areas in Mozambique since April 2012. The second phase of this project will start in June 2013. Then several types of material such as videos, brochures, posters, pamphlets will be published, and workshops will be undertaken. 

The artisanal gold mining in Mozambique is already an essential activity because it has demonstrated that in deposits with high gold content, it is more profitable than farming the same areas.

The way the artisanal gold mining is being developed may not be "sustainable" at the right time due to the continuous increase in informal and illegal artisanal mining, high negative impacts, little knowledge of its reserves and mining feasibility, low level of organizational capacity and management, inadequate legislation, interactive and weak capacity to enforce the legislation at the local and national levels.

 Among the major impacts are the following:

  • Endangers terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity;
  • Degradation of protected areas namely reserves, national parks, game reserves, wetlands and, historical and cultural sites i.e. cultural heritage sites;
  • Promotion of illegal immigration, crime and tax evasion;
  • Conflict agricultural production versus artisanal gold mining that may cause famine situation ;
  • Cultural degradation;
  • Excessive use of alcohol and drugs;
  • Increased prostitution and increased sexually transmitted diseases (STDs and HIV / AIDS);
  • Inappropriate use of mercury in gold amalgamation process;
  • Precariousness of public health due to poor sanitation (cholera, malaria, diarrheal diseases among others);
  • Insecurity of men and animals due to the wells, open pits and abandoned galleries;
  • Use of child labour which may undermine the future perspectives of some children in mine areas.

 For more information, contact:


  1. Prof. Dr. Tomás Muacanhia (PhD), Universidade Zambeze -
  2. Prof. Dr. Isidro Manuel (PhD), Universitye of Zimbabwe/University of Eduardo Mondlane -
  3. Prof. Dr. Lourenço Lázaro Magaia (PhD), Universidade Zambeze -
  4. Dr. Olavo Deniasse (MSc), Provincial Directorate of Mineral Resources and Energy of Manica Province -


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