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Australians to build coal power plant in Mozambique

Coal sampling at
Moatize, in
Sydney, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 July 2008 – Riversdale Mining Limited – a mining company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange – has obtained licences covering 290 000 hectares in order to start construction of a US$2 billion (R16 billion) coal-fired plant in Mozambique, and the company’s mining contract should be issued before the end of 2008.

A company announcement here said the plant would be built in the northern Tete province in early 2009, once a feasibility study had been concluded in December this year.

“With over 280 000 hectares still to explore, it is quite likely that there is more coal in the Riversdale tenements than in the better known Moatize area licensed to the Brazilian Companhia Vale de Rio Doce (CVRD),” Riversdale country director in Mozambique Syd Parkhouse told Reuters. “Tete was the next major coking coal basin in the world,” he claimed.

Parkhouse said Riversdale investment capital of US$2 billion (R16 billion) would be sourced from foreign banks and international finance institutions for production of 500 MW, mainly for export to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia. Riversdale would also sell electricity to other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) where demand is higher than supply, such as Botswana and Namibia.

Parkhouse said Riversdale had entered a joint venture with TATA Steel of India – the world’s sixth largest steel producer – under which the Indian company had taken a 35% stake in licences covering 25 000 hectares for US$95 million (R760 million).

Riversdale has been advised by the Mozambique Ministry of Mineral Resources that its mining contract should be issued before the end of 2008. The Ministry has supported the company’s activities with other agencies of the Mozambique Government to allow for the timely development of key elements of Riversdale’s mining operations in the country. In a formal letter to the company, the Ministry has confirmed that its feasibility study and mining plan are currently being processed.

Reuters reports that coal quality progress results for the Benga exploration licence, near Tete indicate that the quality of the hard coking coal, combined with a 1.9 Billion-ton inferred JORC resource and low strip ratios, will make the Benga deposit a world-class project and give Riversdale the opportunity to be a globally competitive coking coal producer.