Sal & Caldeira is Mozambique’s pre-eminent natural resources law firm. Please give us a brief introduction to the firm and its work?
Sal and Caldeira is a full service Mozambican law firm with offices in Maputo, Tete, and Pemba. As such, we are in a strong position to serve the country’s mining and oil and gas hubs. We offer a complete range of services from corporate law through to labour and administrative law, tax and litigation. We are particularly strong in the area of natural resources and are founding members of the Mozambican International Petroleum Operators Association (AMOPI). Through AMOPI, we are also involved in the development of resource legislation, because AMOPI is the interlocutor on legislation vis-à-vis MIRAM. We also assist the Chamber of Mines of Mozambique.
For investors coming into Mozambique what are the key competitive advantages of Sal & Caldeira over other firms operating in the area?
Sal & Caldeira’s main competitive advantage is that we are a thoroughly Mozambican firm. Many of our competitors are based overseas with just a branch in Mozambique. This is not ideal. Anybody can read the legislation and understand what is written on the page; it is quite another thing to be here on the ground dealing with institutions everyday, to be culturally Mozambican. Out of our team of more than 80 people, only two are expatriates
In 2014 there were some changes made to the mining law. Could you elaborate on how these changes will affect investors here?
Most of the changes are fairly minor. There are now tighter rules governing indirect transfers of mining titles. Similarly, the scope of transactions covered under the capital gains obligations is much greater.
Aside from this, formerly, mines had to be developed according to a strict timeline based on when land rights and environmental permits were issued. Under the new law, the timeline is less rigid.
Do you think there will be any changes to the regulatory bodies?
There have already been some changes to regulatory bodies. The new legislation heralded the creation of a National Institute for Mining. There are also plans for a High Authority for Extractive Industries, which is supposed to govern both the petroleum and mining sectors. However, a year after the concept was created, it is still not a reality. We are yet to see what the government plans to do with it.
How do you assess the legal framework for protection of investments? Is it still robust?
The problem is not the legal framework. We have good laws. The problem is inconsistent implementation.