* Sena line only coal export route for Vale, Rio Tinto
* No date for when the line will reopen, official says
(Adds details, quotes)
By Marina Lopes and Agnieszka Flak
MOATIZE, Mozambique, Feb 12 A railway line that
takes coal from Mozambique's Tete province to an export terminal
at Beira was shut on Tuesday after heavy rains, an official of
the state-owned ports and railways group said.
The line is the only available export route for mining
giants Vale and Rio Tinto .
"No trains are running today. I don't know when the line
will reopen," Nelson Semente said.
The temporary shutdown is a further blow to companies which
are already battling with major infrastructure bottlenecks in
the former Portuguese colony, home to vast reserves of coking
coal, used in steel making.
Vale was forced to curtail its output and export targets
last year and Rio Tinto wrote down $3 billion on its Mozambican
assets, partially due to infrastructure constraints.
Other companies have had to delay their production plans,
waiting until they can get their coal to port without having to
use expensive trucks.
Vale and Rio Tinto officials were not immediately available
Semente said the Sena line was particularly prone to
flooding on the first 100 km of the route and CFM was hoping to
eventually elevate the tracks to avoid that, although he could
not say when that would happen.
He said the company was working to increase capacity on the
line to 6 million tonnes by the end of this year from around 2
million tonnes now and double that the following year,
suggesting a further 12-month delay from estimates given by
other officials towards the end of last year.
"The companies have found much more coal than we had
expected so our greatest difficult is to keep up with the
development," he said. "We just aren't able to."
The line should be able to carry around 18 million tonnes by
2015, he added.
Apart from the Sena line, Mozambique has plans for four new
rail and port projects that together could raise the annual coal
export capacity from Tete to more than 120 million tonnes, but
it will likely take more than a decade to materialise.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Marina Lopes; editing by