Maputo — In December, the Brazilian mining giant Vale moved its one thousandth trainload of coal from its open cast min in Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete to the port of Beira.
This year, Vale-Mozambique plans to transport 4.5 million tonnes of coal – equivalent to 1,700 trainloads – down the Sena railway line to Beira.
According to the Vale Manager of Logistical Operations, Vanderlei Marques, cited in a press release from the company, the thousandth train was an important landmark in the company’s operations in Mozambique.
It began its Mozambican operations slightly more than a year ago, and has so far transported over two million tonnes of coal to the main world markets.
“The target reached is a historic gain for Vale’s business in Mozambique, and vastly exceeds the figure reached in 2011, which was just 120 trainloads of coal”, said Marques. “This achievement is strengthening the name of Mozambique in the world market for coking coal”.
Currently all of Vale’s export quality coal travels down the Sena Line to the new coal terminal in Beira, which has a modern system for unloading and storing the coal, and then loading it onto ships. The terminal can handle up to six million tonnes of coal a year.
But Vale already has to share the terminal with another coal company, Rio Tinto, and in the near future Vale’s production capacity will exceed the capacity of the Sena Line to move it.
Vale is therefore building a new railway across southern Malawi which will link up with the existing northern railway line to the port of Nacala. A new coal terminal at Nacala-a-Velha is planned (facing the existing port), and should be operational by late 2014.