2015-07-30) A serious industrial accident in the newly built Mozambican port of Nacala-a-Velha seems likely to delay still further the start of coal exports from the port by the Brazilian mining company Vale.
Coal will be transported to Nacala-a-Velha from the Vale mine at Moatize, in Tete province, along a new railway that crosses southern Malawi, before joining the existing northern rail corridor. The Moatize-Nacala line is about 900 kilometres long.
It was hoped that the coal shipments from Nacala-a-Velha could begin in December 2014. But severe flooding washed away parts of the railway, setting Vale’s efforts back by months. Now a coal stacker in the port has collapsed, according to a report carried by the Reuters news agency, later confirmed by Vale.
Citing an unnamed mining industry source, Reuters said the stacker, a large machine used to handle coal and other bulk materials, buckled last week. No-one was injured in the collapse.
This unexpected problem is likely to delay still further coal shipments from Nacala-a-Velha. One source cited by Reuters thought it might take months to repair the damage.
To date, Vale has been exporting its coal along the Sena railway line which runs from Moatize to the port of Beira. But even if the Sena line’s capacity is increased, as planned, to 20 million tonnes a year, that will not be enough for all the coal which Vale and several other mining companies hope to export. Hence the need for new ports and new railways.
Vale’s projections are for coal production at its Moatize mine to reach 11 million tonnes a year by mid-2016, rising to 22 million tonnes a year in 2017.
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