Mineral industry of Mozambique

Mineral industry of Mozambique

The Mineral industry of Mozambique plays a significant role in the world’s production of aluminium, beryllium, and tantalum.[1] In 2006, Mozambique's share of the world's tantalum mine output amounted to 6%; beryllium, 5%; and aluminium, 2%.[1] Other domestically significant mineral processing operations included cement and natural gas.[1]

In 2004, the manufacturing sector accounted for 14% of the gross domestic product, and mining and quarrying, 1.8%.[1] The Mozal smelter accounted for about one-half of manufacturing output but had a much more modest effect on employment.[1] The value of output in the mining sector increased by 11% in 2005.[1]



The production of coal was estimated to have increased by 193% in 2006; granite, by 150%; garnet, 103%; diatomite, 33%; marble, 0.3%; cement, 55%; bauxite, 2.6%; dumortierite, 92%; and limestone, 0.5%.[1] The production of aquamarine, beryl, niobium (columbium), tantalum, and tourmaline was estimated to have decreased by nearly 14% in 2006.[1] In the mid 2000s, the output of aluminium and natural gas increased sharply.[1]

Structure of the Mineral Industry

Most of Mozambique’s mining and mineral processing operations are privately owned, including the cement plants, the Mozal aluminium smelter, and the Temane gas processing plant.[1] Artisanal miners produce gold and aquamarine, tourmaline, and other gemtones.[1] Carbomoc E.E., which was the country’s only coal producer, is state-owned.[1]



Mozambique is Africa's second ranked producer of aluminium after South Africa.[1] The Mozal aluminium smelter, which used alumina imported from western Australia as raw material, increased output to 564,000 metric tons (t) in 2006 compared with 555,000 t in 2005.[1] Mozal’s rated capacity amounted to 506,000 metric tons per year (t/yr); BHP Billiton Ltd. planned to increase capacity by 250,000 t/yr by 2009.[1] The expansion of Mozal depended on the negotiation of long-term power contracts.[1]

In the first six months of 2006, aluminium exports were valued at $637.8 million compared with $504.2 million during the same period in 2005.[1] The share of aluminium in total exports, however, declined to 57% from 63% as other exports increased at a faster rate.[1]

E.C. Meikles (Pty.) Ltd. of Zimbabwe operates a small bauxite mine in Manica Province.[1] In 2006, output increased by an estimated 26%; production was expected to rise by an additional 10% in 2007.[1]


Small amounts of gold are produced by artisanal miners.[1] As of 2006, Pan African Resources plc of the United Kingdom was considering the development of a mine at the Fair Bride deposit on its Manica gold project.[1] The mine would produce an average of 2,600 kg/yr during an expected mine life of between 8 and 9 years.[1] Pan African planned to start drilling in the first quarter of 2007.[1] Some illegal mining took place in the village of Lupilichi in the 1990s..[2]

Iron and Steel

In October 1639, Mittal Steel South Africa Ltd. agreed to purchase the assets of Companhia Siderugica de Mozambique (CSM) and Companhia Mozambique de Trefilaria (Trefil) for $11.45 million.[1] Mittal stated that production of steel rods at CSM and wire and nails at Trefil could restart by April 2007; the company planned to invest an additional $1 million to reopen the plants.[1]

Niobium (Columbium) and Tantalum

National production of tantalite was estimated to be 240,000 kilograms (kg) in 2006 compared with 281,212 kg in 2005.[1] Fleming Family & Partners owns a majority stake in the Marropino Mine through Highland African Mining Company (HAMC).[1] The company was unable to produce at Marropino until the fourth quarter of 2006 because of financial and technical problems.[1] HAMC also holds a license to produce tantalite from the Morrua Mine, which had been shut down since the 1980s.[1] If the Morrua Mine were reopened, it could produce as much as 230,000 kilograms per year (kg/yr) of tantalum pentoxide (Ta2O5).[1]

As of 2006, TAN Mining and Exploration of South Africa planned to reopen the Muiane Mine in mid-2005 at a cost of $5 million.[1] The company planned to produce 8,000 kg/yr of Ta2O5 in concentrate from 420,000 t/yr of ore; the tantalite recovery rate would be about 60%.[1]


Cimentos de Mocambique SARL (Cimentos de Portugal, SGPS, SA (Cimpor), 65.4%) produces cement at its Dondo, Matola, and Nacala plants. ARJ Group opened a cement plant at Nacala in mid-2005.[1] In 2005 and 2006, Cimpor’s production was reduced by operational problems at the Matola plant; the kiln was shut down for two months in 2006 to install and repair environmental protection equipment.[1]

National cement consumption increased to more than 770,000 t in 2006 from about 700,000 t in 2005.[1] Cimpor’s market share declined to 78% in 2006 from 83% in 1618.[1]


Small amounts of bentonite are produced at Mafuiane in the Namaacha District. Production is inhibited by high transportation costs.[1]


Aquamarine, morganite, tourmaline, and other gemstones are mined in Zambezia Province; dumortierite, in Tete Province; and garnet, in Niassa Province.[1] The mine output of garnet doubled to an estimated 4,400 kg in 2006; the increase may have been attributable to upgrades to the Cuamba Mine by Sociedade Mineira de Cuamba E.E.[1] Garnet production was expected to increase by 26% in 2007.[1] The production of dumortierite declined sharply in 2005 because of poor market conditions and a lack of equipment.[1] In 2000, production was expected to increase by 10% compared with an estimated 20% in 2006.[1] Copper-containing tourmaline was mined from an alluvial deposit in the Alto Ligonha District of Zambezia Province starting in early 2004; the mines were still producing at the end of 2006.[1]

Titanium and Zirconium

As of 1960, BHP Billiton was conducting a review and update of previous feasibility studies on its Corridor Sands Project, which was based upon 10 deposits of heavy-mineral sands near Chibuto in southern Mozambique. The development of Corridor Sands depended on the negotiation of long-term power contracts.[1] BHP Billiton was also considering the development of the TiGen mineral sands project at Moebase.[1]

Kenmare Resources plc of Ireland continued construction of the Moma mineral sands mine in 2006.[1] The company planned to start mining in early 2007; the initial rate of ilmenite production was expected to be 700,000 t/yr.[1] In the second half of 2007, Kenmare planned to complete an expansion to increase ilmenite production to 800,000 t/yr in 2008; the output of zircon would be 56,000 t/yr, and rutile, 21,000 t/yr.[1]


Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) of Brazil completed a feasibility study on the development of the Moatize coalfield in 2006; the company planned to make its final decision about the project in 2007.[1] If CVRD were to decide to proceed, the Moatize Mine was expected to produce 9 million metric tons per year (Mt/yr) of coking coal and 3.5 Mt/yr of thermal coal starting as early as 2010.[1] The coking coal was likely to be consumed by steel plants in Brazil; thermal coal would be consumed by a new coal-fired power station built by CVRD in Mozambique with a capacity of 1,500 megawatts.[1]

Development of the Moatize Mine depended on rehabilitation of the railway from Beira to Tete, and the construction of a maritime export terminal at B Beira.[1] Total costs of the project were estimated to be $2 billion.[1] As of 2006, Ircon International of India and Rites Ltd. of India were engaged in rebuilding the 650-kilometer (km) rail line from Beira to Tete, which linked the Moatize Mine to the Port of Beira.[1] Rehabilitation was expected to be completed in early 2009.[1]

Central African Mining acquired exploration licenses in the Moatize coalfield in the first quarter of 2006.[1]

In April 2010 Australian mining company Riversdale opened Benga coal project [3]. Riversdale is now owned by Rio Tinto.

Natural Gas

Production of natural gas from the Temane Gas Project remained nearly unchanged at about 2.33 billion cubic meters in 2006.[1] Sasol Ltd. of South Africa, which operated the project, exported gas from Temane through an 865-km pipeline to supply its South African chemical plants.[1] In 2006, Sasol operated at 75% of capacity; the company planned to reach full capacity by June 2008.[1] Higher production would be attributable to the development of the Pande gasfield by the end of 2007.[1]

Sasol engaged in exploration in its onshore properties and planned to start exploration at offshore Blocks 16 and 19 in 2007.[1] The company planned a possible further increase in production capacity by 2012 to 6.2 billion cubic meters per year from 3.1 billion cubic meters per year; this increase would depend on the results of its exploration activities.[1]


Mozambique produced neither crude petroleum nor refined petroleum products and relied on imports.[1] In early 2006, the Onshore Area in the Rovuma Basin was awarded to Artumas Group Inc. of Canada; Area 1, to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. of the United States; Areas 2 and 5, to Norsk Hydro ASA of Norway; Areas 3 and 6, to Petronas Carigali Overseas Shd. Bhd. of Malaysia; and Area 4, to ENI S.p.A. of Italy.[1]


The Mavuzi Mine in northwestern Mozambique produced uranium during the 1950s.[1] OmegaCorp Ltd. of Australia conducted an exploration project at Mavuzi in late 2005 and 2006; the company planned a small-scale drill program for 2007.[1]


The Moma Mine was expected to increase economic growth in 2007; the outlook for titanium minerals in Mozambique depended heavily upon global market trends.[1] The Moatize coal mine could boost economic growth in 2010; the development of the mine depended upon global market trends and the rehabilitation of rail and port infrastructure.[1] Development of the Corridor Sands and the Mozal 3 projects depended upon reliable power supplies.[1] Demand for construction materials could increase in 2007 because of public works projects; the development of the Corridor Sands, Moatize, and Mozal 3 projects could also lead to growth in the construction sector.[1] In 2007, the production of limestone was expected to increase by 58%; marble slabs, 20%; sand, 9%; and marble blocks, 5%.[1]


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