Mozambique benefiting from mining-sector exports, coal now dominant mineral

 

titanium-bearing heavy mineral sands

Montepuez Ruby Mining has announced that it achieved revenues of $54.8-million from its latest ruby auction, in Singapore. Montepuez mines rubies and corundum in the Montepuez district of Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. The company is 75%-owned by UK enterprise Gemfields and 25%-held by Mozambique company Mwiriti Limitada. Montepuez’ concession covers 33 600 ha.

Montepuez offered a little more than one-million carats for sale, of which 895 848 ct were sold. The average price was $61/ct. This was the eighth auction held by the company, the Macauhub news agency reported. The first auction was held in June 2014. The company’s total accumulated income to date is $280-million. The Mozambique government will receive $5.48-million in tax revenues from this latest sale.
(Gemfields is currently the subject of a takeover battle between JSE-listed Pallinghurst Resources, Gemfields’ largest, but not majority, shareholder, and Fosun Gold. The latter is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Fosun International.)

Nevertheless, the mining industry in Mozambique remains dominated by the coal sector. And, during the first quarter of this year, coal became the country’s number one export, displacing aluminium. This was reported by the Bank of Mozambique’s first Monthly Statistical Information Summary, the Macauhub news agency also reported.

During the first quarter, coal (mined in Tete province) brought the country export revenues of $326.1-million, amounting to 33.4% of all exports (in terms of value). This was a jump of 200.5%, compared with the figure for the first quarter of last year.

(Total Mozambique exports, free-on-board, during the first quarter of 2017 came to $976.61-million. This was a 40.1% increase over the value for the first three months of 2016.)

Aluminium exports were worth $249-million (Macauhub actually says euros, but that is clearly a mistake). This represents 25.5% of total exports by value and was actually an increase of 29.5% over the equivalent period last year. (Aluminium production takes place in the capital city of Maputo.)

Natural gas exports, from Inhambane province, were worth $72.4-million in the first quarter and contributed 7.4% of total exports. Exports from the country’s heavy mineral sands operations (mainly from Moma, in Nampula province) came to $42.8-million, or 4.4% of total exports.

Altogether, what the Bank of Mozambique calls Big (or Grand) Projects were responsible for 80.3% of all the country’s exports during this year’s first quarter. In Mozambique, the term Big Projects or Grand Projects is applied to aluminum, hydrocarbon and mining projects, as well as related infrastructure, developed by foreign direct investment.

The remaining 19.7% of exports by value were accounted for by Mozambique’s “traditional” exports. These include cashew nuts, cotton, prawns, sugar and tobacco.

Source: Mining Weekly

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