Mozambique to start work on Nacala coal terminal - PM
Friday, 24 February 2012 | 00:00
Mozambique expects construction of a coal terminal to start in the next few months at the northern port of Nacala, with the aim of having it operational in two to three years, Prime Minister Aires Aly said in Tokyo on Thursday.
"We need to have it up and running in the next two to three years," Aly told Reuters through a translator on the sidelines of a news conference, adding that he expects Nacala to have a total capacity of 25 million tonnes of coal, including the planned terminal exclusively for coal.
Brazil's Vale has said it plans to spend $4.4 billion to build the terminal and a 912 km (570 mile) railway line connecting its coal mine with the port.
The railway line and port will initially have a capacity of 18 million tonnes to meet Vale's rising demand for exports.
Separately, Japan is conducting a feasibility study, financed by its overseas aid, on improving the capacity and operation of the port, including terminals for coal.
Aly and his Japanese counterpart, Yoshihiko Noda, agreed earlier this week to start negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement.
But a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Thursday it is still unclear if and when Tokyo will help fund the Nacala port development.
The weeklong visit by the leader of energy-rich Mozambique, which ends on Friday, comes at a time when Japan is struggling to meet its electricity needs, with most of its nuclear reactors shut down due to safety fears sparked by the Fukushima radiation crisis. Japan, along with other countries, is also under pressure from the United States to cut oil imports from Iran.
Several Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel Corp and Mitsui & Co, have already tapped the resources of Mozambique.
Aly said test results so far have shown the country's offshore natural gas fields are promising, and he hoped liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to Japan from an LNG facility in a project led by Anadarko Petroleum Corp would start by 2018.
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