Mozambican government wants to analyse Rio Tinto’s coal production figures

21 January 2013

The Mozambican government plans to review the technical information of the Rio Tinto mining group, which announced a drop in the amount of coking coal it mines in Mozambique, explaining this was due to transport constraints, the deputy Mining Resources minister said in Maputo.

“We hope they can show us technical data about these findings for us to carry out our own checks,” the deputy Mining Resources minister, Abdul Razak told Portuguese news agency Lusa in relation to Rio Tinto’s announcement about coal production in Mozambique.

The group announced last week that its financial statement contained a write down of US$3 billion related to its Mozambique project and that coal mining would be at lower levels than initially projected due to a lack of transport capacity in the country.

Razak gave assurances that, “the Mozambican government is working with companies so that transport capacity will increase in the short and medium term,” but noted that Rio Tinto’s assessments were, “a normal situation in geology, where this happens a lot.”

“Of course there is no immediate solution, but, in the future, not in the medium term, there will be solutions for carrying coal and other products, on the Sena line and Nacala line, as well as on other railroads that are due to be built,” said Razak.

The company announced a drop in the book value of assets of US$14 billion, which were related to Mozambique and to Canadian aluminium group Alcan, which was acquired in 2007.

In a statement the Mozambican subsidiary of Rio Tinto, which in 2011 took on a majority stake in Riversdale Mining, the previous owner of the Benga coal mining project, announced it was working with the Mozambican government to find alternatives, after its initial idea of transporting the coal along the Zambezi River was not approved. (macauhub)