Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Wednesday formally inaugurated the coal mining and export activities of the Indian company JSPL Jindal, in Changara district, in the western province of Tete.
Jindal, which describes itself as a market leader in the steel industry, and has a strong presence in coal mining, is active in seven African countries, including Mozambique, where it hopes to achieve exports of three million tonnes of coal a year, in the near future.
Jindal began its mining operations in the first quarter of this year, According to its managing director, Manoj Gupta, the reserves so far discovered are enough to raise production to 10 million tonnes a year.
The Jindal mining concession covers an area of 17,600 hectares, and by the time the mine is in full production, the company's total investment will have reached ten billion US dollars.
Gupta says the company intends to employ 2,000 workers. As the mine expands, so it will be necessary to resettle 563 households currently living in the Jindal concession area.
To meet the electricity needs for mining and processing the coal, Jindal has built a sub-station with two 220 kv transmission lines, connected to the electricity grid based on the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi.
At the inauguration ceremony, Guebuza declared that it marked the launch of another pole of accelerated development. Changara, he said, thus joins other development poles that are projecting Mozambique in the international media and in the corridors of international finance.
“The presence of this mine will introduce a new culture and dynamic in work”, he said. “It will transfer this culture and these technologies to more men and women from Changara and from other parts of Mozambique”.
Mega-projects such as the Tete coal mines, the President claimed, promote decentralisation, by creating new poles of development, and generating new opportunities for economic growth and for the diversification of social and economic activities”.
“The extractive industry has been defined as a pillar of accelerated development”, said Guebuza, “and to achieve this exploration and research activities have been designed and carried out, resulting in the discovery of new deposits, and reassessing those that were already known”.
He added that the government is committed to expanding and modernizing the port of Beira to cope with the large amounts of coal and other goods that will be handled there.
As for the challenge of providing the skilled staff that the mining and hydrocarbon sectors need, Guebuza said the government has approved a training and capacity-building strategy to meet the needs and challenges for the period up to 2020.
With the Jindal mine now operational, there are three major multinational companies exporting coal from the Moatize coal basin in Tete. The other two are Vale of Brazil and the Anglo-Australian company, Rio Tinto.