Towards the end of the recent State visit by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza to Australia the two countries concluded a minerals development partnership agreement. The pact was initialled by Mozambican Foreign Trade and Cooperation Minister Oldemiro Baloi and Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Richard Marles, in the presence of President Guebuza and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The purpose of the agreement is to help develop the African country’s mining sector. Key elements are institutional capacity-building and human capital development. “As a country, we want to make the most of the experience of Australia,” explained Baloi at a press conference. “We have been looking carefully at the history of this country, and noted that for decades, or almost a century, it was in the same situation as Mozambique, with a huge resource potential, but without translating these resources into wealth.” Australia has finally embarked, the Minister observed, on a successful course, from which Mozambique had much to learn.
The Mozambican government would like the wealth produced by the exploitation of the country’s minerals to more directly benefit all its citizens. However, he affirmed, for this to be possible, “training, so that they [Mozambicans] are themselves exploiting that which will benefit them” is very important.
In a joint communiqué, the two governments agreed to encourage the efforts of the Australian and Mozambican private sectors to increase trade and investment, including in infrastructure. They also discussed the strengthening of bilateral cooperation, including in the development of human capital through the provision of bursaries to Mozambican students, as well as in the supply of water and sanitation and in the agricultural sector.
Furthermore, they expressed satisfaction about the development of relations between the two countries. During his visit, President Guebuza also met with the deputy leader of the opposition, Julie Bishop, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anna Burke.
Subsequently and separately, Australian junior miner Triton Minerals announced that it was starting the first phase of its exploration programme at its Balama North graphite project in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado. This is a joint venture with Mozambican company Grafex Limitada. The company has been able to secure the necessary equipment and supplies to undertake the exploration operations. The equipment includes a large excavator, which has been brought to the license area from Tanzania.
Balama North is regarded as highly prospective because it lies close to Syrah Resources’ Balama East project, where graphite mineralisation has been established. (Syrah Resources is another Australian junior, active in Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia as well as Mozambique.) In fact, the Balama North deposit is only some three kilometres south-west of the Balama East property boundary.
Triton has engaged Jigsaw Geoscience (Jigsaw) to help it with the early mapping, sampling and trenching programme. There will be a partial focus on high priority zones.
When Jigsaw have finished their work at Balama North, they will carry out a refined soil sampling and mapping programme at Triton’s separate Ancuabe prospect, which is more than 100 km east north east of Balama.
The activities at Ancuabe are reduced because the rapid growth of ground cover during the rainy season has decreased ground access. The company believes that ground access will increase in the coming months during the dry season.
“The results from this initial exploration program will enable the Company to better
understand the underlying geological structure and prospectivity of the project,” said Triton in its press release. “This essential information collected during this first phase, will provide the necessary knowledge to enable the Company to further refine and categorise anomalous zones. It will subsequently help in the planning and execution of the drilling program which is due to commence later this year.”
Mozambique wants to learn as much as possible from Australia’s experience with minerals
Triton Minerals is starting exploration at its Balama North graphite project in Mozambique