September 19, 2011
Mineseeker, through its subsidiary Aid Free Zone Southern Africa, has conducted further negotiations with local government representatives in Inhambane province, Mozambique, regarding the rights to 1,000 hectares of land for expansion of coconut production capacity. The additional land will ensure security of supply of raw materials to the coconut processing plant recently acquired by Mineseeker, resulting in increased production and revenue growth to $700,000 per month.
During meetings with government representatives, Eric Du Plessis, CEO of Aid Free Zone Southern Africa, presented the Aid Free Zone concept and it was received with huge enthusiasm. “They all loved the concept of the Aid Free Zone”, commented Eric, “as for far too long international organisations have been coming to this part of the world and spending money on projects that, while they had the right intentions, did not meet the local requirements of long term benefit for the community. Instead they just resulted in a dependency on aid. They particularly liked the compassionate capitalism focus of Aid Free Zone; they want foreign investors to make a profit, especially when those investors also improve the lives, conditions and safety of the local population”.
“When I then discussed Mineseeker, and the work they can do to rapidly and effectively identify minefields, allowing previously unutilised land to be returned to economic use, the meeting took an interesting turn”, Eric added. “We are now talking to the government about 50,000 hectares, that’s 500km², of land that we can survey using Mineseeker’s unique technology, after which we retain the ownership of the land. That means even more coconut supply, but more excitingly the land being discussed includes a 10km long strip of beautiful beachfront, and we are now in talks with the Ministry of Tourism about eco-tourism development”.
As well as negotiating the ownership of this land, Aid Free Zone Southern Africa is also now discussing agricultural rights to a further 80,000 to 100,000 hectare area nearby which is currently populated, but where there is no market for the produce that grows there. Aid Free Zone will implement an infrastructure programme, including the creation of collection points. This will mean that small-scale producers can bring their harvest to a regional collection point, where Aid Free Zone purchasers will pay the going market rate.
In addition to this, micro loans shall be made available so that small-scale production facilities can be established for virgin coconut oil, which has a far higher value and can bring additional benefits to stakeholders. Other micro loan projects include the drilling of boreholes, to allow vegetable farming to satisfy local demand, as currently 90% of food is imported to Mozambique.
Mineseeker Operations CEO, Edward Cross, commented “This is great progress in Mozambique, and a fitting reward to the efforts of Eric and his team for their work over the past few months. The group vision of releasing suspected mine infested areas, then investing in projects that bring benefit to local communities as well as maximising shareholder value, is now turning in to reality”.
“From a pure business perspective, the eco-tourism development opportunity is viable. The sector has grown at the rate of 20% per year recently, and is predicted to account for 25% of the world tourism market within six years. As there is no sector operating expertise within the current group structure, we will look to enter in to a strategic partnership or acquisition so that we can maximise the return from this opportunity. This project is perfect as it allows us to prove the whole business concept of identifying and clearing an area of landmine threats, investing in local business opportunities, bringing stability and prosperity to the local population, providing a return for shareholders and thereby completing the circle. We can then roll this out to other post-conflict environments across the world”, Edward concluded.
About Mineseeker and Aid Free Zone
Using Mineseeker technology increases the land available for the economic benefit of the local population and enables businesses to develop the land for agriculture, tourism, mineral exploration, and construction as applicable.
Following on from its mine survey work, Mineseeker will establish in conjunction with governments and local partnerships, a land based wealth creation program delivering compassionate capitalism for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Aid Free Zones will dramatically change the landscape of the global aid programme by building economically viable communities who do not rely on aid but on support to develop their own businesses by creating a market for products and resources.