JOHANNESBURG, March 4 Mozambique has reopened
its Sena railway line, the only available rail coal export route
for mining giants Vale and Rio Tinto ,
after a two-week closure due to floods, state logistics group
The line, which connects the northern Tete province with the
coast, was shut on Feb. 12 after heavy rains and a derailment,
forcing Vale to declare force majeure on a number of coal
Rio Tinto also declared force majeure to suspend open cast
mining operations at its mine following the flood damage, its
mining contractor, Eqstra Holdings, said.
"We have sent a letter to the coal exporters last week that
the line is open although they have yet to start sending
trains," Sancho Junior, director of the Sena railway
rehabilitation project, which falls under CFM, told Reuters.
The shutdown was a further blow to firms already battling
against infrastructure bottlenecks in the former Portuguese
colony, home to vast reserves of steel-making coking coal.
The Sena line is currently the only railway available for
mining companies to get minerals to port. Some companies are
moving coal by trucks, although this is expensive.
Vale expects to lose 250,000 tonnes of coal shipments due to
the shutdown. The Brazilian mining giant had to curtail its
Mozambican output and export targets last year due to delays by
CFM in increasing the capacity on the railway line.
Rio Tinto wrote down $3 billion on its Mozambican assets in
January, partially due to infrastructure constraints.
Apart from an upgrade to the Sena line, Mozambique plans
four major rail and port projects to raise annual coal export
capacity from Tete to more than 120 million tonnes. The work is
likely to take more than a decade to complete.
(Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Ed Cropley)