Tender to explore heavy sands in Chibuto, Mozambique to be awarded by June of this year

1 March 2012

The Mozambican government is expected by next June to announce the company chosen to be awarded the tender for exploration of the Chibuto heavy sands project in the southern province of Gaza, Mozambique’s Mining Resources minister, Esperança Bias said in Maputo.

Speaking to Mozambican daily newspaper Correio da Manhã, the minister added that, according to the schedule, the proposals that area received will be opened in April and the companies whose proposals are in line with requirements will be invited to put forward a final proposal, “and the winner should be announced by June.”

Bias said that one of the reasons the start of this project was delayed was related to the characteristics of the heavy sands deposits, which are different from those at Moma in Nampula province, for example, and that only recently has technology become available to explore them.

The minister noted that the previous tender, which was launched in 2010, had been cancelled as competitors had not met requirements set by the government.

The Chibuto heavy sands project covers and area of 11,000 hectares and has potential to produce 70 million tons of ilmenite. It was previously awarded to BHP Billiton, as a result of the acquisition of Australian company Corridor Sands, but its license was revoked in mid 2010 due to not meeting targets, specifically, the deadline for starting mining operations.

Irish company Kenmare Resources is exploring heavy sands deposits in Moma, Nampula province. (macauhub)