Mozambique: Botswana analyses Mozambican ports for coal exports

16 February 2009

Maputo, Mozambique, 16 Feb – The Botswana mining authorities are considering the possibility of using the port of Matola, in the Mozambican province of Maputo, to export coal produced in the country, said Kgomotso Abi, Botswana’s director of Mines.

According to Mozambican newspaper Notícias, Abi also said that the country’s coal industry would also look at the possibility of using the Namibia rail system, and was soon due to launch an economic feasibility study for a 1,500 kilometre railway from Botswana’s coal mines to a Namibian port.

“We have a limited capacity to consume coal. We have therefore decided to focus on exports,” said Abi, cited by the Botswana business press, speaking at a conference on coal exports, where he announced that his country had estimated reserves of 200 billion tonnes, with just 3 to 5 billion being economically viable.

The port of Matola competes with the South African port of Richard’s Bay, but the new port of Dobela, to be built in the Matutuíne district, to respond to potential congestion in the port of Matola, could be in Mozambique’s favour.

The fact that the new port will be a deep water one, located in the industrial free trade area, and have an expected handling capacity of the total of Mozambique’s 14 ports, are the main attractions of the future facility from the point of view of the Botswana mining industry.

Botswana’s plans to use the Mozambican ports follow a decision to diversify sources of revenue and focus more on coal, as an alternative to diamonds, on which the Botswana economy is largely dependent. (macauhub)