Coal mining “’
taking off in
Mozambique
 
Sydney, Australia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 November 2009 – Australian-based and listed mining company Riversdale Mining Limited is looking for a partner to help develop its Zambeze coal project in Mozambique, and about six companies have expressed interest so far.

Riversdale produces about 500 000 tonnes of coal per year from its Zululand colliery in South Africa, and is developing its flagship Benga coking coal project, adjacent to the new Zambeze discovery.

“About half a dozen companies have expressed interest, but we’ll only know who our ideal partner would be after we finish the pre-front-end engineering and design studies,” managing director Steve Mallyon told Reuters in an interview here.

“Output from the project “’ which has an estimated resource of 1.7 billion tonnes of hard coking and thermal coal combined “’ could reach between 20 and 25 million tonnes a year,” Mallyon added. First production is expected sometime in 2014 or 2015.

The neighbouring Benga deposit “’, which saw its coal resource estimate nearly doubled to 4 billion tonnes in April “’ is expected to produce 1.7 million tonnes a year of hard coking coal and 300 000 tonnes of thermal coal in its first production phase from early 2011.

Production from Benga “’ in which India’s Tata Steel Limited holds a 35% stake “’ would eventually ramp up to 20 million tonnes as transportation infrastructure improves.

The firm has about 6 billion tonnes of coal resources, and has mining licenses over more than 290 000 hectares in Mozambique “’ a size that analysts say could transform the small company into one of the world’s top ten coking coal exporters.

“Mozambique is a huge coal opportunity and we see it as one of the most exciting places on earth, but geologically the place is a challenging one to understand,” said Mallyon.