Brazilian mining giant Vale intends to produce 1.5 million mt of coal this year from its open cast mine at Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, a 75% increase on its previous estimate of 850,000 mt for the year, and to ramp up output to 6.3 million mt in 2012.

According to NAM News Network, Vale had hoped to begin exporting coal in July, but delays in rebuilding the Sena railway line from Moatize to the port in Beira will result in postponement of export shipments until October. Production in the first phase will increase to 11 million mt/y, of which three quarters will be coking coal. Output will then double to 22 million mt/y during the second phase beginning in 2014. This year Vale will invest $422 million in the Moatize project.

There are now 36 mining companies operating in Moatize district, and they are all facing problems in getting their coal to the coast for export. Even when the Sena railway line is running it will only have capacity to transport 6 million mt/y. A further upgrade could increase this to 12 million mt/y. Yet coal output from the Zambezi coal basin could by then total more than 80 million mt/y.