12 December 2012

Mozambique: Strong Expansion in Mining Forecast for 2013

Maputo — The Mozambican government envisages an 18.6 per cent increase in production from the country’s mining and hydrocarbon industries in 2013.

According to the social and economic plan presented to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina, coal production in the western province of Tete should reach 7.5 million tonnes.

This breaks down into six million tonnes of coking coal (a 20 per cent increase on this year’s figure), and 1.5 million tonnes of thermal coal (a 61.2 per cent increase).

At the dredge mine operated by the Irish company Kenmare Resources, in the northern district of Moma, the plan expects production of 905,000 tonnes of the main mineral mined, ilmenite (iron titanium oxide), which is a 44.1 per cent increase. However there will be a decline in production of the two other minerals exploited at Moma – xircon (minus 10.9 per cent) and rutile (minus 29.9 per cent).

After many years of paralysis, tantalite mining at Ile, in Zambezia province, resumed in 2011. The plan envisages that production will remain steady at 982 tonnes a year.

At the natural gas treatment plant in Temane, in the southern province of Inhambane, operated by the South African petro-chemical giant Sasol, the plan forecasts production of 141 million gigajoules of gas, and 420,000 barrels of condensate (increases of 6.3 and 11.1 per cent respectively).

Gold production is expected to fall by 70.6 per cent, from 408 to 120 kilos. But a spectacular increase in the mining of certain precious stones is forecast. The discovery of new deposits, mostly in the central province of Manica, will lead to a boom in the production of tourmalines and garnets.

This year’s tourmaline production is expected to be just over five tonnes, while for garnets the figure is 1.8 tonnes. But for 2013, the plan envisages the mining of 150 tonnes of tourmalines and 50 tonnes of garnets, increases of well over 2,500 per cent in both cases.

The target for manufacturing industry is growth of 5.8 per cent. The major contributions to this will come from the food and drink industry (an increase of 11.1 per cent), cement (22.4 per cent) and tobacco (8.9 per cent). The sharp rise in cement production is due to the scheduled opening of four new cement factories in 2013.

Electricity production should rise by 5.7 per cent, largely due to work on replacing and restoring critical equipment at the Cahora Bassa dam and its converter station. The amount of power sold by the Cahora Bassa operating company, HCB, to the dam’s main client, the South African electricity company Eskom will rise from 10,318 to 10,774 gigawatt-hours (GWh). The Mozambican electricity distribution company, EDM, is scheduled to buy 3,459 GWh, a five per cent increase n the 3,294 GWh of HCB power bought this year. The largest growth is in the sale of power to the Zimbabwean utility, ZESA. ZESA has now paid off its debt to HCB and is expected to purchase 1,328 GWh in 2013, a 51.2 per cent increase of the 878 GWh bought from HCB this year.

The government plans to electrify a further 17 district capitals in 2013, which will bring the number of districts on the national grid to 126 (out of a total of 128). There will be a further 125,000 homes connected to the grid, bringing to 41 per cent the proportion of the Mozambican population that has access to electricity, either from the grid or from solar panels.

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