Mitsui & Co., Ltd. has made a significant investment with Vale S.A. regarding the Moatize mine and the associated rail and port infrastructure project, referred to as the Nacala Corridor, in Mozambique. Mitsui purchased a 15% interest in the Moatize mine for $450 million, and a 50% interest in Vale’s investment in Nacala Corridor for $313 million. The amount for the mine will be adjusted based on the future actual performance results of the Moatize project, so the final payment amounts could vary based on the conditions of the contracts.
The Moatize mine is currently billed as one of the largest, cost-competitive operating coal mines as it has a huge coal reserve amounting to 690 million metric tons of metallurgical and thermal grade coal, and the seams are shallow, which enables a large-scale open-cut operation. Vale began production in August, 2011, and now exports coal via Sena railway from the Port of Beira, which is about 600 km south of the mine. The annual production in 2013 was 3.8 million tons. Vale plans to expand the annual production capacity of the mine to 22 million tons in 2016. The expected expansion cost is approximately $2.1 billion, part of which Vale has already paid, and Mitsui’s future payment for the expansion cost on a pro rata basis is expected to be $190 million.
The anticipated mine expansion would overrun the Sena rail and port capacity. So, the plan is to construct the Nacala Corridor infrastructure, to ship coal from the Port of Nacala, 912 km east of the mine. The pro-ject would include the upgrade of the 682 km existing rail line, which runs across Mozambique and Malawi, and the construction of the new 230 km rail line and new construction of a coal terminal in the Port of Nacala and development of general commodities terminals. The facility’s export capacity is planned to increase gradually to 22 million tons. The total construction cost is expected to be approximately $4.4 billion.