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CMM GeertKlok

MOZAMBIQUE - Energy & Mining

Geert Klok

President, Chamber of Mines of Mozambique

Bio

Geert Klok currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Mines of Mozambique (CMM) since October of 2022. He is an experienced company director and holds the Certified Director designation from the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa. He has worked in the Mozambican mining industry for over a decade. Geert currently serves as the country director Mozambique for a graphite mining company. He is also an entrepreneur having co-founded a legal consulting firm and a fire protection business. Geert has been living and working in Mozambique for close to twenty years. Before coming to Mozambique, Geert managed a Dutch/American R&D company focusing on high tech refrigeration technology. He graduated with a masters’ degree in Business Economics and holds an LL.M in International Business & Trade Law from the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

"I am optimistic about the growth potential of the mining industry in Mozambique, given its rich resources."
TBY talks to Geert Klok, President of the Chamber of Mines of Mozambique, about the organisation’s goals for the country, improving conditions for investors, and reconciling all this with environmental protection efforts.
Can you provide an overview of the Chamber of Mines’ main objective in Mozambique?

The Chamber of Mines was founded in 2012 to advocate for and promote the interests of the mining industry in Mozambique. Currently, we have 60 members, primarily comprising large and medium -sized mining companies like Kenmare, Syrah Resources, Vulcan, Jindal, and Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM). Our board oversees the chamber, representing major industry players. Collaborating with the Chamber of Commerce of Chemnitz, Germany, and supported by the German government, we enhance the chamber’s capabilities and promote best practices in environmental sustainability, women’s rights, and health and safety standards. This extends to artisanal and small-scale miners, a significant sector within the industry, aiming to improve their operational and working conditions.

How does the chamber work to promote investment and create a conducive environment for investors in Mozambique’s mining sector?

We collaborate closely with the government, particularly the Ministry of Mining Resources and Energy, to enhance the business environment for mining companies. Mozambique boasts significant opportunities across various sectors, notably mining, with abundant mineral resources. The industry is still in its infancy, there is vast untapped potential awaiting exploration; however, realizing this potential hinges on implementing appropriate policies and infrastructure. We actively engage with the government through conferences such as the Mozambique Mining and Energy Conference (MMEC), where we serve as partners and speakers, leveraging these platforms to promote Mozambique’s opportunities and advocate for necessary reforms to attract investors. We also extend our outreach internationally, participating in events such as the Mining on Top Africa (Mota) conference in Paris and the Mining Indaba in Cape Town. Additionally, as members of the Mining Industry Association of Southern Africa (MIASA), we leverage regional networks to share knowledge and best practices, fostering cooperation and advancing the industry’s development across borders.

How does the chamber address sustainability and promoting environmentally responsible practices within Mozambique’s mining sector?

We are currently organizing workshops for our members, including sessions with specialists on ESG. We are particularly focusing on supply chain certification, which is becoming increasingly important, especially with European standards. In Mozambique, we closely monitor global trends. We have a diverse array of companies operating here, mostly led by foreign investors, and their ESG practices often reflect their headquarters’ locations. With the global energy transition, there is growing interest in Africa, including Mozambique, for critical raw materials, but sustainability is paramount. As such, the Chamber of Mines plays a vital role in assisting members in preparing for supply chain certification requirements to continue exporting to Europe; however, there is a general lack of awareness in Mozambique about these impending demands, so we are focused on educating our members on these matters.

What are your expectations for the future of the mining sector in Mozambique?

I am optimistic about the growth potential of the mining industry in Mozambique, given its rich resources including heavy sands, graphite, gold, gemstones, rare earth minerals and lithium. Mining has the capacity to drive development by creating employment opportunities and fostering growth in rural areas. For example, the coal industry has spurred significant development in Tete, where many of our members operate. We also have members in coastal areas and Nampula, where mining companies contribute substantially to local development. However, the future of the mining sector hinges on favorable government policies and the attractiveness of Mozambique as a mining jurisdiction, which is a key advocacy focus for our chamber. To exemplify, consider the case of Next Source, a Canadian company operating a graphite mine in Madagascar. It is constructing a processing plant for battery anode material in Mauritius, not in Canada, illustrating the significance of the business environment. Despite the additional transportation costs, they opt for Mauritius due to its superior ease of doing business, ranked 13th globally, compared to Madagascar’s 161st position. This prompts a crucial question for Mozambique: Do we aspire to emulate the business-friendly environment of Mauritius or contend with the challenges faced by Madagascar? Our aim is for Mozambique to foster a conducive business climate like Mauritius to attract more development. However, achieving this necessitates a long-term perspective. Rather than focusing solely on short-term gains through increased fees and taxes, the emphasis should be on facilitating the mining industry’s growth. Moreover, there is discourse in Mozambique about industrialization and local value addition, such as producing batteries for electric vehicles. Yet, it is essential to assess the feasibility of establishing a complete production value chain. Mozambique lacks an automotive or battery manufacturing industry and has a relatively small domestic market. Therefore, exploring regional cooperation, like with South Africa’s automotive industry, could be vital. However, there is no obligation for companies to manufacture products domestically. Mining operations must occur in the country where the minerals are found; however, for minerals such as coal, graphite and heavy sands, Mozambique is not the sole source. Investors have other options, such as Tanzania, Madagascar, Namibia, or Zimbabwe. To attract investment, stability and competitiveness are crucial since mining ventures span decades. Therefore, maintaining consistent regulations and avoiding abrupt changes like tax hikes or local processing requirements is essential for fostering a favorable mining environment. Mozambique’s potential for industry growth hinges significantly on its policy landscape and competitiveness relative to other African nations.

What are the Chamber of Mines’ goals for the remainder of 2024, and what do you aim to achieve?

We have identified several priority areas, foremost among them is enhancing the efficiency of the mining cadaster. Currently, there is a significant backlog in applications, resulting in lengthy processing times and numerous pending applications. Our aim is to support the Ministry in streamlining the cadaster process and reducing fees, especially considering the substantial fee increases implemented in 2022, which are the highest in the region and hinder investment. Additionally, we are advocating for improvements in tax matters, particularly expediting VAT refunds for mining companies. Ultimately, our focus is on delivering tangible benefits to our members and enhancing the overall business environment for the mining industry.

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