Mozambique studies possible use of methane gas for power generation

14 October 2010

Maputo, Mozambique, 14 Oct – A project to make use of methane gas emitted during the process of mining coal, aiming to use it to generate electricity, is being studied in Mozambique, the deputy minister for Mining Resources said in Maputo.

Abdul Razak told daily newspaper Notícias that due to a lack of experience of the technology, the Mozambican government and Brazilian mining company Vale had contacted Indian companies in order to find out the real potential of the project.

The deputy minister also said that based on the result of the technical studies that are still underway, it would be possible to determine the destination of the power, and it is not yet known if it will be injected into the national grid or if it will just be for the internal use of the Brazilian mining company.

Methane is a gas that is liberated during the coal mining process, it is invisible and when it is mixed with air become highly flammable, with some more technically advanced mining projects using the gas to generate electricity.

In Mozambique’s case, Abdul Razak said that the most important thing at the moment was to determine the quantities of gas that will be obtained and if it will be possible to generate electrical current.

Regardless of the future use of methane or not, Brazilain companies Vale and Australia’s Riversdale Mining, which have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars on coal mining in Tete province, are proposing to build two power plants with capacity to produce up to 3,500 MW, making use of some of the thermal coal produced at the mines.

The first phase of coal mining is due to begin at the end of October or beginning of November and the first exports are due to take place in the first half of next year, and will increase until they reach an estimated peak of 46 million tons per year. (macauhub)