Southern Africa has long profited from its mineral wealth, until recently. Mature mining destinations were the hardest hit by the collapse in commodity prices. At last the area is seeing some respite.
By Mungo Smith
IMAGE: Courtesy of Vermeer
The downturn in the prices of commodities has slowed down mining activity in Southern Africa over the last three years. Nonetheless, signs of recovery are evident. Immense mineral wealth, from diamonds in Botswana and Zimbabwe, to massive coal deposits in Mozambique and South Africa’s well-known gold reserves, continue to lure investors as commodity prices recover gradually and governments undertake efforts to boost mining activity. Continue reading
MACIG Connect Series
“GK Moçambique is reviving the Ancuabe Graphite mine aiming at production of 6,000 mt/y.”
Can you give us an introduction to GK Moçambique?
Grafite Kropfmuehl de Moçambique (GK Moçambique) is a subsidiary of the German graphite mining and processing company Graphit Kropfmuehl GmbH (GK). In its turn, GK is part of the Advanced Metallurgical Group (AMG) which is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange. GK has operations in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Our operations in Mozambique began in 2009, with exploration work through GK Moçambique. GK Moçambique has five prospecting licences in Cabo Delgado province. In addition to GK Moçambique, we have founded GK Ancuabe Graphite Mine. This company was set up to reopen the Ancuabe mine which ceased to operate in 1998.
How has the Ancuabe mine renovation process come along and what is its potential output? Continue reading
Mozambique has a new government, a new mining code and a lot of new infrastructure
When Vale inaugurated its multibillion-dollar Moatize mine in 2011, the media proclaimed the start of a coal boom in the Tete province, with major mining houses and ambitious juniors scrambling to invest. They had mixed results. Rio Tinto’s 2011 acquisition of the Benga coal project for $3.7bn and subsequent sale for $50m in 2014 has become emblematic of the industry’s hubris and carelessness during the boom years.
Logistical problems have so far capped Vale’s total coal exports at 6.5 million mt/y, despite nameplate production capacity of 11 million mt/y. The operators resorted to storing mined coal in stockpiles, which has caused environmental and safety problems. Heavy rains then led the Brazilian major to declare force majeure on shipments of 500,000 mt in 2013. Eventually, the company decided to take matters into its own hands, constructing the Nacala Logistics Corridor, its own integrated logistics network consisting of a 900 km railway and deep-water port complex. The project was completed in late 2015 at a cost of around $4.4 billion and Vale hopes this will now allow Moatize to become profitable. Continue reading
Samuel Levy of Sal & Caldeira explains changes to Mozambique’s mining law.
Sal & Caldeira is Mozambique’s pre-eminent natural resources law firm. Please give us a brief introduction to the firm and its work?
Sal and Caldeira is a full service Mozambican law firm with offices in Maputo, Tete, and Pemba. As such, we are in a strong position to serve the country’s mining and oil and gas hubs. We offer a complete range of services from corporate law through to labour and administrative law, tax and litigation. We are particularly strong in the area of natural resources and are founding members of the Mozambican International Petroleum Operators Association (AMOPI). Through AMOPI, we are also involved in the development of resource legislation, because AMOPI is the interlocutor on legislation vis-à-vis MIRAM. We also assist the Chamber of Mines of Mozambique.
For investors coming into Mozambique what are the key competitive advantages of Sal & Caldeira over other firms operating in the area?
Gondwana focus on Mozambique’s oil and gas potential as mining suffers.
We last met with Gondwana in 2014; please give us a brief update about Gondwana’s operations of the past two years?
Mario Deus (MD): Gondwana has managed to remain viable despite the slowdown in the mining industry. Besides the slowing down in mineral exploration worldwide, Mozambique has been affected in the last couple of years by an electoral period, challenges in electoral results, changes in legislation and a new Government. Investors like stability and certainties and the present situation has affected investors, who are somehow holding on to see what will happen next. Most of exploration projects that were already underway are still in execution, but new ventures are at a standstill. Surface taxes have risen seven fold and that is being reluctantly received by the industry. Our main focus has been coal over the years, but we have lately been involved with graphite, iron, marble and some alluvial exploration in Tete, Cabo Delgado, Manica and Nampula Provinces. We have been fortunate with long standing clients like Vale and Baobab Resources.
How would you compare the available information and geographical mapping of Mozambique to some of its Southern African neighbours? Continue reading
GreenLight looks to provide renewable energy solutions in Mozambique and beyond.
Please provide a brief introduction to GreenLight and the company’s presence in Mozambique?
Boris Atanassov (BS): GreenLight was founded in 2010 as a consulting firm and over the years, the company gradually transformed into a project development and implementation company. We specialize in renewable energy projects where we are involved in project development, research, feasibility studies, and consulting services. Our other focus area is the environmental services sector where our business includes environmental impact assessments, auditing, monitoring and the development of environmental plans for the industry to be more sustainable.
GreenLight have been the pioneers in the sectors that we operate in and we provide great research and development services to many innovative projects in Mozambique. One of the innovative projects on which we were the lead consultants and developers was the introduction of ethanol for cooking stoves.
How many active projects does GreenLight currently have underway in both your operating spheres? Continue reading
Mozambican Natural Gas: Approval for Eni, More Uncertainty for the Country
On February 23, the Mozambican government gave formal approval to Eni’s plan of development (POD) for its 3.4-million-mt/y Coral floating LNG (FLNG) train, although the company has yet to give a final investment decision. This marks a crucial step in the southern African nation’s strategy to monetize its substantial gas reserves.
The Mozambican share of the Rovuma Basin, which is also shared with Tanzania, is believed to hold up to 150 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The deposit was first discovered in 2012 by two exploration consortiums led by Eni and Anadarko Petroleum and delineated in more detail in subsequent drilling campaigns in 2013.