Australian company Riversdale to build thermoelectric power station in Benga, Mozambique

5 August 2009

Maputo, Mozambique – 5 Aug – Australian mining company Riversdale, which holds the coal mining concession at Benga, in Tete, Mozambique, is to build a 500 megawatt capacity thermoelectric power station, Mozambican news agency AIM has reported.

The agency quoted Nazário Meguigy, director of projects and planning at the Energy Ministry, to say that the commercial operation of the power station is expected to start in 2013.

The coal-powered thermoelectric power station at Benga is an investment by the Riversdale/Elgas consortium, the amount of which was not revealed.

Under the scope of this project negotiations are currently underway between the Energy Ministry and the consortium in relation to the Agreement of Principles.

According to Meguigy, the agreement should regulate relations in the period before the award of the concession contract.

Significantly, last May Riversdale showed an interest in building its own thermal power plant to process its coal but the Mineral Resources minister, Esperança Bias, said that this measure might not be economically viable.

At the time, Bias said that ideally the mining companies would work in partnership and all sell their coal to a single thermal power station.

This proposal arises from the fact that Brazilian company Vale, which holds the mining rights for a mineral coal mine in Moatize, in Tete province, has a similar project, which could produce up to 1,800 megawatts of electrical energy as of 2012.

Importantly, Riversdale recently completed a viability study for the exploration of the coal mine at Benga, where it could expect to mine 5.3 million tons of coal per year during a first phase (2009-2014).

The mine at Benga has coal reserves estimated at 273.3 million tons, made up of 181.3 million tons of proven reserves and 92 million tons of likely reserves. (macauhub)