A number of factors led to the recent closure of the Marropino mine, in the Gilé district of Mozambique’s Zambézia province, where Highland African Mining Company (HAMC), now Noventa, mined tantalum, Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported.
Citing a source from the Mining Resources Ministry, the newspaper said that since mining began HAMC had faced difficulties related to both the high level of radiation of the metal and to a lack of access roads to transport the product to the port.
The source also said that the closure had been due to the fact that the ore with the highest levels of tantalum had already been processed and that what remained at the mine was much higher and found at greater depths, which increased the cost of mining and processing.
Financial analyses showed that, for operations at the Marropino mine, for each ton of material extracted there is a loss of US$3, and the company had reported accumulated losses of around US$150 million by June 2013.
Problems with the poor quality of electrical power supplied to the mine are added to the fact that in order to carry the tantalum away the company had to use a long overland route to Walvis Bay, in Namibia, as no Mozambican port is certified to handle Class 7 products, which are defined according to their level of radioactivity.
The closure of the mine led to redundancies for 377 workers, which the Mining Resources Ministry has pushed to be absorbed by the company’s concessions in Morrua and Mutala. (macauhub)