Coal and ports investments set to transform Mozambique

Reuters reports the board of Brazil's Vale has approved a $6 billion expansion of its Moatize coal project in Mozambique to lift output to 22 million tonnes per year from the 11 million tonnes it expects to mine initially. First production from the expanded mine is forecast for the second half of 2014.

The country's Tete province is believed to hold one of the world's largest untapped coal reserves that has been compared with Australia's coal-rich Bowen Basin. Mozambique suffered a 15-year long civil war that ended in 1992 and remains one of the poorest countries in the world, but the ex-Portuguese colony 7% economic growth this year is forecast to accelerate thanks to mining and infrastructure spending.

Reuters quotes Marcelo Matos, general manager for marketing and sales at Vale's coal unit: "Moatize is a great alternative to (supply) the growing seaborne market, it's in a very strategic location and there is a lot of interest (for the coal)."

Dredging Today reports on a number of harbour infrastructure projects in Mozambique including the construction of a new terminal at Beira, which would have a capacity to handle between 18-26 million tonnes per year.

Coal producers are also looking at building a 20 million tonne coal terminal at Chinde, north of Beira. The port’s construction is planned to coincide with the start-up of production at Rio Tinto’s Zambeze project, expected to begin producing from 2015. Rio acquired the Mozambique coal assets when it bought Riversdale Mining for $4 billion.

IOL reports Mozambique is “happy” with the strength of the metical, the world's best-performing currency this year after strengthening 21 against the US dollar, and has no plans at the moment to weaken it, Finance Minister Manuel Chang said on Tuesday.

Mega-projects like those from Vale and Rio Tinto have a massive effect on the economy of a country such as Mozambique which last year enjoyed gross domestic product of only $9.89 billion equating to $458 per capita.