Vale Mozambique, the African coal mining subsidiary of major Brazilian mining group Vale is currently developing Phase 2 of its Moatize mining expansion project, in Tete province, in Mozambique. Moatize is, however, its biggest and flagship coal project.
Moatize Phase 1 has a capacity of some 11-million tons a year (Mt/y) of coal, divided into about 70percent metallurgical (or coking) coal and 30percent thermal coal. Phase 2 will double these figures while retaining the same ratio of metallurgical and thermal coal. It will involve the duplication of the mine’s coal handling processing plant and related infrastructure. The civil engineering works for the stockpile area and the crusher for Phase 2 are in progress. To date, 27 percent of the expansion project’s physical infrastructure has been completed.
The production ramp-up at Moatize gave Vale a record coal production in 2012 and apart from Moatize, Vale also owns combined metallurgical and thermal operations in Australia and has minority participations in two metallurgical coal companies in China.
In 2012 the group’s total coal production provided 2.3 percent of its operational revenues, being divided into 1.8 percent metallurgical coal and 0.5 percent thermal coal. In monetary terms, coal contributed 2.11-billion Brazilian (about US$1.07billion or R9.62billion), of which R$1.62-billion ($820-million or R7.38-billion) came from metallurgical coal.
In terms of volumes, the company’s metallurgical coal output last year came to 4 864 Mt, while the figure for thermal coal was 3 134 Mt. During 2012, Vale invested US$1.25billion into its global coal activities, of which US$943million went into projects, US$207million into maintenance and US$102 million into research and development.
Vale Moatize is expected to export 5 million tonnes of coal upon completion of the upgrade of the Sena railway line and the line will be able to carry 6.5 million tonnes of coal per year, up from 2 million tonnes. The upgrade of the railway line linking the port of Beira with coal mines in central Tete province is expected to be completed before end 2013.
Vale is investing heavily to increase the mine’s annual capacity to 11 million tonnes and plans to double that in the second phase of the project.