Mozambique may export 110 million tons of coal in 2020

21 July 2010

Maputo, Mozambique, 21 July – Mozambique’s annual coal production may total 110 million tons by 2020 and thus the country needs to solve its logistics problems, the president of the Mozambican Association for Mineral Coal Development said Tuesday in Maputo.

Casimiro Francisco, who was speaking at an international conference on Mozambique’s coal, in the capital Maputo, said that the country may even reach production of 160 million tons of coal per year, as compared to a current estimated capacity of 55 million tons.

Saying that Mozambique had estimated coal reserves of 23 billion tons, Francisco called attention to the problem of a lack of a qualified work force and, fundamentally, to logistical problems, that is how to transport the coal from where it is mined to the ports for export.

The Mozambican government has considered the possibility of expanding capacity at the port of Beira, in Sofala province in central Mozambique, as well as transporting coal along the Zambezi river, in Tete province, a possibility that is being studied by Australian company Riversdale Mining, which is responsible for the Benga coal project in that province.

Mozambique is considered potentially to have one of the largest coal reserves in the world. There are several coal basins that have been identified in different areas of the country, in the provinces of Tete, Niassa, Cabo Delgado and Manica, some of which are currently being assessed through surveying work as part of over 100 mining licences granted to several individuals and companies.

In the Moatize coal basin, the best-known of all the coal basins in the country, last year several geological surveys were carried out and reserves are currently estimated at several billion tons.

In 2007 and 2009 two mining contract were signed, with Vale Moçambique and Riversdale Mining for Moatize and Benga, respectively, which together account for potential yearly production of around 20 million tons of coal, with exports expected to begin in July, 2011. (macauhub)