Instead, they ended up being moved 25 miles away from the mine, living in crumbling, leaky houses, farming barren plots of land, far from any kind of jobs that the mine might create and farther than ever from Mozambique's growth miracle. The promised water taps and electricity never arrived. Earlier this year, the people of Cateme sent a letter to local government officials and Vale demanding that their complaints about the resettlement process be addressed, threatening to block the railway line that passes through their village carrying coal to the port. When they received no reply, they occupied the rail line. The police descended upon them, chasing them away and roughing up those who resisted removal. Eventually, contractors came to install electricity. The underlying lack of access to good land and water persist. Hopes that farmers would be able to sell their produce to feed the boom in this mining area have so far not been met: much of the food is flown in.
Mozambique is one of the poorest nations in the world, broken by a brutal colonial legacy, a 16-year civil war and failed experiments with economic policy. But it is also one of the so-called African Lions: countries that are growing at well above 6 percent annually, even amid the global downturn.