Africa round-up

VALE plans a rapid expansion in Mozambique’s prized Tete region, while Coal of Africa focuses on marketing and Richards Bay prices dwindle.

Justin Niessner

Vale-Mozambique pumps up

Vale is planning to ship 4.5 million tonnes of coal this year from its fledgling Moatize operation in the promising Tete region of Mozambique.

The increase will translate to some 1700 trainloads of coal compared to the 1000 trainloads shipped from the mine in 2012 and only 120 trainloads in 2011.

African news aggregate AllAfrica reports that the Brazilian giant will build a new railway to link up with the port of Nacala and that a new coal terminal at Nacala-a-Velha should be operational by 2014.

Vale currently transports Moatize coal via the Sena rail line to Mozambique’s Beira terminal which the company shares with Rio Tinto.

Coal of Africa signs Vitol

Coal of Africa has appointed Dutch energy and commodity trading company Vitol as the miner’s exclusive marketing agent for all thermal and coking coal exports.

The memorandum of understanding announced yesterday will cover all Coal of Africa products for eight years except coal subject to current agreements and coal from the Makhado project in northern South Africa.

Makhado covers 8190 hectares of the Soutpansberg coalfields and counts 344 million tonnes of minable resource.

Coal of Africa also reached an agreement with South African bank Grindrod whereby the miner maintains its right to terminal capacity in Maputo but is no longer obliged to fund its share of the facilities expansion.

Soft prices at Richards Bay

Africa’s largest coal terminal has seen export prices decline to their lowest point in three weeks.

According to Bloomberg, coal for immediate delivery at South Africa’s Richards Bay terminal dropped 1.3% in the week to January 4 to $88.94 a tonne, the lowest price since December 14.

The report builds on a five-month trend of eroding prices at the facility.

Between July 13 and December 14, Richards Bay export coal prices fell $3.11 or 3.5%.

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