Beira coal terminal

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Beira coal terminal is a coal export terminal at Beira port, Sofala province, Mozambique.

The US$200 million terminal, which has an estimated annual capacity of 6 million metric tons, began operations in 2012 as a joint venture between mining giants Vale and Rio Tinto, together with Mozambique's national port and railway company CFM (Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique).[1]

The terminal is linked by the 660 kilometre-long Sena railway to Moatize, Tete province, the current center of Mozambique's coal mining boom, where both Vale and ICVL operate mines.

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Background

Brazilian mining giant Vale, the first major company to start producing thermal and metallurgical coal from the Tete basin, reported in August 2011 that it delivered its first coal by train from its Moatize mine project to the Beira port.[2] Between August 2011 and January 2012, Vale exported 246,000 metric tons of coal using Beira port's pre-existing infrastructure.

In February 2012, the current Beira coal terminal was officially opened.[3] Despite the terminal's announced annual capacity of 6 million metric tons, first year exports were projected to be only 5 million tons, split 80%-20% between Vale and Rio Tinto[4], and in 2014 CFM officials acknowledged that actual capacity remained lower than anticipated due to limitations in rail and port infrastructure.[5]

In 2014, Rio Tinto sold all of its Tete basin coal holdings, most notably its Benga mine, to the Indian group International Coal Ventures Pvt Ltd (ICVL). ICVL announced that it planned to significantly increase coal production at the Benga mine - from five million tonnes annually to 12 or 13 million tonnes - and export 60% of its output to India.[6]

In 2015, commercial operations began at Vale's new coal export terminal in Nacala, which is linked to the Moatize coalfields by a new railway line. By 2017 Vale Moçambique projected that its coal exports from Nacala port would greatly exceed those from Beira (18 million metric tons from Nacala vs only 4 million from Beira).[7]

In 2017, coal exports from Beira were slashed in half when Vale announced that it would transfer 100% of its Mozambican coal port operations to Nacala. Nacala's natural deep-water harbor and state-of-the-art facilities offer significant advantages over Beira, which requires regular dredging. Vale's departure from Beira leaves only two coal companies, Jindal and ICVL of India, still operating at Beira, with total 2017 exports of two million tonnes vs the five million tonnes originally projected for the port.[8]

Project Details

  • Operator: CFM (Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique), Vale, Rio Tinto
  • Location: Sofala province, Mozambique
  • Annual Capacity (Tonnes): 6 million
  • Status: Existing
  • Type: Exports
  • Coal source: Moatize mine, Tete province, Mozambique

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