Deep within the dusty heart of Mozambique, a hidden industry thrives. Artisanal mining, the backbreaking extraction of minerals by hand, attracts a constant flow of migrants, both within the country and across the Southern African region. But who are these miners, and what journeys bring them to these remote, unforgiving landscapes?

A new report, the Artisanal Miners’ Demographic and Migration Profile Assessment (AMDM), sheds light on this elusive workforce. Focusing on Gile in Zambezia and Cahora Bassa in Tete, two significant mining hotspots, the AMDM paints a vivid picture of the socio-economic realities and migratory patterns of these artisanal miners.

“These informal mining sites are magnets for migrants,” explains a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the U.N. agency behind the AMDM. “The promise of a better life, however slim, compels people to travel long distances, often leaving families behind.”

The report’s findings highlight the vulnerabilities faced by these communities. Limited access to basic healthcare creates a breeding ground for communicable diseases. “These mining areas are far removed from essential services,” says the IOM spokesperson. “The AMDM provides crucial evidence to bridge this gap and create migrant-friendly healthcare models.”


Beyond the immediate challenges, the AMDM offers valuable insights for policymakers. Understanding the demographics and migration patterns of artisanal miners is key to formulating effective interventions. “This report is a critical first step,” says the spokesperson. “By understanding who the miners are and where they come from, we can begin to address the social and economic factors that drive them to such risky environments.”

The AMDM’s findings serve as a call to action. As Mozambique grapples with the realities of artisanal mining, the human stories behind the pickaxes and shovels cannot be ignored. The AMDM paves the way for a more nuanced understanding of this complex industry, laying the groundwork for a future where both miners and their communities can thrive.

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