10 February 2014

Mozambique: Bauxite Company in Danger of Closure

Maputo — The only bauxite mine in Mozambique, located at Penhalonga in the central province of Manica, is at risk of closing, for lack of a market for its product, reports Monday's issue of the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.

The managing director of the company, Mina Alumina, John Makle, said the company can extract up to 13,000 tonnes of bauxite a year. But from 2011 onwards it has only been producing 7,500 tonnes.

The company used to sell its bauxite to Zimbabwe and Zambia, but its clients in those countries are no longer buying.

“The economic crisis in Zimbabwe has seriously affected us”, said Makle. “Right now, we're waiting for a new market, the South African market, that wants to acquire our product”.

The fall in production has already led the company to sack 42 of its 65 workers. A further eight workers are at imminent risk of losing their jobs.

The Mina Alumina trade union committee accepts that the company is facing financial difficulties in paying the dismissed workers heir redundancy pay. Like the employer, the unions see selling bauxite to South Africa as a possible lifeline.

The proposal from South Africa is to purchase 5,000 tonnes of bauxite a year from Mina Aluimina. A sample of 30 tonnes is being sent to South Africa for analysis and assessment. If the potential buyer approves, then the mine could be saved.

“We cancelled further sackings”, said Makle, “because at the last moment a new buyer in South Africa appeared, and asked for several tonnes for assessment. At the same time the Zimbabwean Minister of Mines has told the company Zimforce to buy our bauxite again, though not in large amounts”.

For a longer term solution, the company hopes to attract partners who would invest in processing bauxite, setting up factories in the provincial capital, Chimoio, and in Manica Town.

Copyright © 2014 Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.