Moatize, Mozambique — 21 May 2013 – Brazilian mining giant Vale SA has cut the 2013 export target for its Mozambique coal mine by nearly a third, a company official said, after heavy weekend floods temporarily shut railway lines.

Vale now sees exports at 3.4Mt, down from its previous estimate of 4.9Mt, Altiberto Brandao, Vale Mozambique’s director of coal operations, told on a visit to the Moatize mine in north-central Tete province.

The Sena railway line that connects coal-rich Tete to the coast was shut for two weeks in February, forcing Vale to declare force majeure on a number of coal shipment contracts.
“The line was completely paralysed,” Brandao said.

The shutdown was a further blow to Vale, which is already battling infrastructure bottlenecks in the former Portuguese colony, home to vast reserves of steel-making coking coal.

It began exporting coal from Moatize in 2011, but was forced to almost halve its production and export targets last year due to infrastructure constraints.

Brandao also said coal production from Moatize is forecast at 6.4Mt next year, rising to 9.2 Mt a year after.

Vale is investing to expand the mine’s annual capacity to 11Mtpa, and plans to double that by 2018, Brandao added.

The expansion to 22Mtpa is contingent on Vale’s US$4.4 billion rehabilitation of the northern Nacala corridor, which includes repairs to a railway line through Malawi to the Nacala deep-water port.

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