Vale, a Brazillian multinational mining and logistics firm, has ramped up production of coal at Moatize Mine in Tete, Mozambique, with production now peaking at 11.6 million tonnes as of last year.
This means that production of coal, which passes through Malawi via rail to Nacala Port on the Eastern side of Mozambique for export, has jumped from two million tonnes in 2012, according to figures provided by the firm’s geologist (coal quality) based in Mozambique, Andre Villanculos.
In an interview on Wednesday in Moatize, Tete in Mozambique, Villanculos said as part of expansion drive, the firm has opened section six of the mine.
“Section six will be one of the biggest mines [at Moatize]. It will be our super pit and it has 70 percent of reserves of coal that we have here,” he said.
Villanculos said they will continue to ensure that they produce quality coal, stressing that they cannot “deviate from the quality”.
Vale, which is the fifth largest mining company in the world in terms of revenue at $33.2 billion, hauls five trains of coal every day.
One train has 120 wagons, translating to 7 500 tonnes of coal per train.
“At one point we moved nine trains in one day which was one of the highest. One train takes between 32 to 35 hours from Moatize in Mozambique to Nacala Port [a distance of more than 900 kilometres],” he said.
From Nacala Port, the coal is exported to South Africa, Brazil, Europe, Asia and India.
Villanculos touted the Vale’s environmental sustainability programme, observing that whatever they do is in line with local (Mozambique) and international best practices.
“We are always mindful of dust control issues. We have a monitoring station to check the level of dust that is being emitted.
“We use dust bind, which is a kind of tar with low viscosity, on our roads,” he said.
The firm’s mining licence expires in 2040, but Villanculos said there is a possibility they will seek renewal in view of the coal reserves in excess of one billion tonnes.
Vale has 51 percent stake in CDN (Corredor de Desenvolvimento), a partner firm for Central East African Railways (Cear), a concessionaire for rail operations in Malawi.
The two firms operate on Nacala Corridor. n