Mozambi coal begins exploration in Zambezi basin

The Australian mining company Mozambi Coal on Wednesday announced that it has commenced exploration of its Songo licence, which is situated 115 kilometres to the west of Tete city.

The company revealed that it has begun an airborne geophysical survey, which is being conducted by the Australian company Aeroquest Airborne Ltd.

Aeroquest will also carry out aerial surveys of Mozambi Coal’s Muturara and Tete West licences. In total, Mozambi Coal’s licences cover more than 600 square kilometres of land in Tete province.

Mozambi Coal has also signed an agreement with Major Drilling Mozambique to conduct a preliminary drilling programme to provide samples from Songo.

Furthermore, it has hired the South African company Digital Surveying to carry out downhole geophysical surveys, and has brought in the specialist Australian coal consultants Salva Resources to assist with core logging and sample preparation.

It has been estimated that the Songo licence may contain between 1.86 and 2.32 billion tonnes of coal. Estimates for the other two licences the company holds in Tete province suggest that Tete West may have reserves of up to 270 million tonnes, whilst Muturara may hold up to 3.6 billion tonnes of coal.

The Managing Director of Mozambi Coal, Shiv Madan, told AIM that 'we are excited about the prospects for coal on our Songo license. Local geology maps indicate the potential for coal underlying a 26 square kilometre area in the south east section of the license. Over the past two months we have completed a topographical mapping study – this study confirmed the presence of Lower Karoo sedimentary rock within this 26 kilometre area. Lower Karoo is the hosting rock for coal in the Southern African region”.

He pointed out, “our objective with this preliminary exploration programme is to confirm the presence of coal and to assess its potential quality and quantity”.

Independent experts believe that within five years over 100 million tonnes of coal per year will be mined from the Zambezi coal basin by several companies, making Mozambique one of the world’s largest coal exporters.

However, despite the huge potential, few companies are yet moving to develop their concessions. The Brazilian company Vale has already begun exporting coal through Beira port, while Riversdale of Australia is expecting to begin exports shortly.

The main challenge is getting the coal to market. The Sena railway line between Tete province and the port of Beira only has the capacity to handle six million tonnes of cargo per year. A further upgrade of the line, including doubling the track in places, could raise this to 12 million tonnes a year.

In response to this bottleneck, Riversdale is looking at sending coal to the port of Beira by barge down the Zambezi River, while Vale is looking at investing in a new rail link to the northern port of Nacala.

Post published in: Africa News

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