* Integrated project involves big global trader Trafigura
* Plan to tap mines in north and south, includes smelters
By Pascal Fletcher
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 7 Angola aims to start up iron
ore production in the next two to three years through a state
company partnership with private operators including leading
international trading house Trafigura, an Angolan industry
official said on Wednesday.
Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, president of state-owned
Ferrangol-EP, told Reuters the integrated iron ore/manganese and
steel project would extract ore from two mining areas -
Kassala-Kitungo in Kwanza Norte province and Cassinga in
southern Huila province.
"We foresee that possibly towards the end of 2014, or in
2015, we can start up production at a still low level and then
pass on to other output phases," Azevedo told Reuters on the
sidelines of an iron ore conference organised by Metal Bulletin
The project, undergoing a feasibility study, aimed at
initial production of iron ore concentrate but included plans
for smelters. "Our intention is to get to the production of
steel," Azevedo said.
He saw initial iron ore production of three million to four
million tonnes a year ramping up to levels of 20 million and 30
million tonnes a year. "The resources are enormous," he said,
without giving an estimate for Angola's iron ore reserves.
Angola, which was devastated by a 27-year civil war that
ended a decade ago, is Africa's second largest oil producer
Oil revenues represent more than 95 percent of the country's
export income and around 45 percent of gross domestic product,
but President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' government is looking to
diversify the economy and develop other areas of industry.
Azevedo said the private DT Group, a Singapore registered
joint venture that includes Trafigura, had a 60 percent stake in
the Angolan integrated iron ore and steel project, while a
private Angolan group, Genios, held 10 percent. State-owned
Ferrangol held the remaining 30 percent.
The Cassinga mine was already linked to an Atlantic Coast
port by the existing Mocamedes railway, and both rail line and
port were being rehabilitated for the project, he added.
Cassinga was operated under Portuguese colonial rule by the
Lobito Mining Company before Angola gained its independence in
1975. "In the 1960s, it was already exporting nearly six million
tonnes a year of iron ore concentrate," Azevedo said.
"So, the project has good prospects," he added , but he
declined to give an overall figure for the size of the planned
total project investment, saying only it was considerable.
(Editing by James Jukwey)