The first shipment of coal mined by JSPL Mozambique Minerals at its Chirodze operation, in the Tete province of the African country, has been exported to India from the port of Beira. The shipment amounted to 36 600 t and was loaded onto the Filipino bulk carrier Maori Maiden, which had sailed directly to Beira from Manila. JSPL Mozambique Minerals is a division of Jindal Africa which, in turn, is part of India’s Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL). JSPL is itself part of a $15-billion conglomerate, the OP Jindal group.
Like the other mines in Tete province, the Chirodze mine (which is in the Songo district and not in the Moatize district, where the other currently operating mines are) produces primarily metallurgical or coking coal and some thermal coal. JSPL Mozambique Minerals director-general Manoj Gupta told local media that the plan was to export about one-million tons of both coking and thermal coal this year.
The second shipment was due in June. It seems that the Maori Maiden will be making a number of round trips between Mozambique and India. It is likely that some of this coal will be used as feedstock for JSPL’s steelmaking.
The company has built up a stockpile of 463 400 t of coal at Beira. This was done using trucks – from 15 to 20 trucks a day, travelling some 600 km from the mine to the harbour. JSPL Mozambique Minerals is finding this expensive and plans to switch to rail transport, using the Sena railway, once five locomotives and 100 wagons are delivered from India. They are expected to arrive in June or July.
Meanwhile, Rio Tinto has announced that there will be job losses in its Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique (RTCM) operation, as a result of low global commodity prices and coal transport infrastructure constraints. RTCM lost money last year and expects to continue experiencing difficulties for the rest of this year. It hopes to regain profitability by the end of this year and become sustainable thereafter.
“The steps to be followed include the optimisation of its workforce and its cost base, in both the support areas and the operations,” said the group in a press release to the Mozambican media. “While some areas of RTCM’s business will benefit from expansion, others will experience organisational changes, verifying a reduction in some operational and support areas, with greater emphasis in the area of prospecting and research.”
No numbers have been officially released, but the Lusa news agency has reported that 56 Mozambicans and 20 foreigners will lose their jobs. Rio Tinto also said it will reduce the number of foreign workers in RTCM and accelerate their replacement by Mozambicans.