Mozambican government rejects project to carry coal along Zambezi river

2 March 2012

The Mozambican government has rejected a proposal put forward last year by Australian company Riversdale Mining, and later supported by the Rio Tinto group, to transport coal along the Zambezi River, Mozambique’s Transport Minister Paulo Zucula said Thursday.

Contacted by phone by financial news agency Reuters, the Minister said that the environmental impact of the proposal was very negative and that it was not possible to use river transport to carry coal from Tete province to the coast.

Riversdale Mining proposed, in an initial phase, to carry 2 million tons of coal per year on barges along the Zambezi to the port of Beira, which would progressively be increased to 12 million tons.

“Every four years we have problems with the Zambezi bursting its banks and killing people and if we dredge the river and widen its banks we are going to have more problems,” he said.

The current capacity for carrying the coal by rail from Tete to the port of Beira along the Sena line is limited to 6 million tons per year but the minister gave assurances that the mining companies would not have problems transporting the coal and the government planned to increase capacity on the Sena line and other railroads and port facilities.

“The only problem is one of scheduling as the government is seeking funding to carry out existing plans,” Zucula said noting that by the end of the year the Sena line would have the capacity to carry 10 million tons per year and that in 2013 the port of Nacala would start being repaired and two railroads would be built. (macauhub)