RABAT, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani announced on Saturday the launch of new developement projects in restive eastern province of Jerada.
The announcement was made during his visit to Oujda, the capital city of the Eastern region, where he met local officials as well as representatives of the private sector and civil society.
Jerada has witnessed a wave of protests since last December after the death of three miners while they were digging in abandoned mines.
The protesters have called for justice for the dead and demanded job opportunities and "economic alternatives."
El Othmani said the government has launched construction projects in Jerada Industrial Zone, which will offer many job opportunities for young people.
The prime minister also said the government will withdraw all licenses for mineral explorations that do not respect legal requirements after the investigation into the mining exploitations in the region is completed.
Jerada had been growing on the back of flourishing mining activities since 1920s, but it suffered a major blow in late 1990s after state-owned coal mines that employed thousands of local people were forced to close down due to rising digging costs and declining coal prices.
However, many local residents have continued illegal mining in the abandoned mines.