Maputo: Mozambique' ports and railways company CFM expects to complete a much-delayed refurbishment of the Sena rail line linking the port of Beira with coal mines in Tete province by November this year, it said on Monday. After the upgrade is completed, the line will be able to carry 6.5 million tonnes of coal per year, up from 2 million tonnes now, before being expanded further.
"All the work is on track. This is the first phase of a rehabilitation of this infrastructure to be undertaken by CFM to ensure that the line is able to carry 12 million tonnes per year by 2013 and 20 million tonnes within three years," CFM said in a statement.
Infrastructure bottlenecks remain the main concern for coal miners setting up in Mozambique, and both the government and the private sector have come up with various projects to expand and build new rail lines and ports.
Brazil's Vale began first exports from its Moatize coal mine last year and already used the Sena line to move coal to Beira. Others were forced to move their coal by trucks.
CFM was asked to complete the upgrade of the Sena line after the government cancelled a contract it had with India's Rites and Ircon (RICON) when the consortium had failed to deliver the project despite many delays.
The line was initially scheduled for completion in September 2009 to carry coal from Tete where the likes of Vale and Rio Tinto are busy developing mines that will serve Mozambique and exports.
In a separate statement, the ministry of mineral resources said it had issued a tender for new exploration licences in the Tete coal basin. The tender is restricted to Mozambicans and closes on July 27.
"By restricting the competition to Mozambicans the government believes this is another way to involve them in business," the ministry said.
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