Greetings from the Serena Polana, Maputo. I can confirm that Maputo is the land of wonderful and flavoursome tiger prawns. The Architecture is also deliciously retro. By the way, the Polana was built in 1922 and the flavour is fabulously Riviera and very swanky. It is less than 4 hours by plane from Nairobi and surely set to be the most of in things and places to visit.
Of course, Mozambique has popped large onto the global radar because of gas reserves that have been discovered offshore and in the deep sea. I have said before, that I believe the eastern seaboard of Africa is clearly the last great energy prize in the c21st and I believe this lake of hydrocarbons stretches from Mozambique up through Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia. We remain in the early stage of this discovery process but Mozambique is further along the curve. Some estimate that Mozambique has gas which is equivalent to 2m barrels of crude oil per day for 50 Years. 2m barrels of crude is worth $166m (Sh14billion) [per day].
This excitement around gas in Mozambique has found expression in a bidding war for Cove Energy. Cove Energy has an 8.5 per cent stake in Mozambique's Rovuma offshore gas basin. John Craven Cove CEO, said: "The project is well under way to becoming the second largest LNG project in the world." Now it is always part of the job description for a CEO of a Wildcatter like Cove or Tullow Oil to be bullish but this time around, I urge you to listen. By the way, Tullow Oil's Mr Heavey said last week that Kenya had the potential to dwarf its lucrative Lake Albert play in neighbouring Uganda.
Returning to Mozambique, Its worth noting that it is not only about gas. Mozambique has also got coal. The Brazilian Company Vale started producing coal at its Moatize mine last year and has approved a $6 billion expansion of the project to boost output to 22 million tonnes per year from the 11 million tonnes it expects to mine initially.
Then there is also the Kenmare mineral sands project at the Moma Mine, located on the coast of Mozambique. The Moma Mine contains reserves of heavy minerals which include the economic titanium minerals ilmenite and rutile used as feedstocks to produce titanium dioxide pigment, as well as the relatively high-value zirconium silicate mineral, zircon. Rutile, Ilmenite and Zircon are the exact same minerals that Base Resources are seeking to mine in Kwale. Mozambique is well worth your attention. It has Mine.
The official currency is the New Metical (1 USD is roughly equivalent to 27 New Meticals), which replaced old Meticals at the rate of a thousand to one. The old currency will be redeemed by the Bank of Mozambique until the end of 2012. The US dollar, South African rand, and recently the euro are also widely accepted and used in business transactions.