British company Beacon Hill Resources has announced that it has begun exporting coal from the central Mozambican port of Beira.
In a statement issued by the company, the first shipment of 10,650t of thermal coal mined at the company’s open cast mine at Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, had left the port of Beira aboard the ship MV Aztec Maiden.
The coal currently being mined is thermal coal, but the company expects to begin mining the higher value coking coal in the first quarter of next year. The company has built up the capacity to shift half a million tonnes of coal a year.
The coal was trucked by road to Beira, and the company has built up the capacity to shift half a million tonnes of coal a year this way. However, in the longer term the company intends to use the Sena railway line from Moatize to Beira to shift two million tonnes of coal per year. According to Beacon Hill, “significant progress continues to be made regarding the Sena railway line, which has strengthened the Group’s confidence is attaining an allocation in 2012. These progressions pave the way for Beacon Hill to ramp up production to 2Mtpa of coking and thermal coal over the next two years”.
It is hoped that by the middle of next year the line will be able to have a capacity of 6.5Mtpa, rising to 12Mtpa in 2013. However, this will be nowhere near enough to transport the huge amounts of coal that will be mined in the region over the next few years. Independent experts believe that over the next decade more than 100 million tonnes of coal per year will be mined from the Zambezi coal basin by several companies, making Mozambique one of the world’s largest coal exporters.