Zambeze Mine

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The Zambeze Mine is a proposed coal project in Tete Province, Mozambique. The project adjoins the Benga coal mine.


The undated satellite photo below shows the location for the proposed coal mine in Tete, Changara District, Tete Province.

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Zambeze Mine is a coal project being considered by the Australian coal company, Riversdale Mining. On its website, Riversdale states that the project has a "a coal resource of 9 billion tonnes has been identified. The Zambeze Project is similar in structure to Benga with 22 coal seams outcropping over a strike length of 14 kilometres across the northern portion of the tenement. In June 2010 Riversdale signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corporation (WISCO) and a logistics partnership agreement with the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) for the development of the Zambeze Project. The MoU provides for the acquisition by WISCO of 40% of the Zambeze Project for a total consideration of US$800 million to be paid in three tranches and subject to achievement of certain milestones. Completion of the transaction is scheduled for October 2010 and will value the Zambeze Project at US$2.0 billion."[1]

According to Bloomberg, the Zambeze Project is estimated to have reserves of 1.7 billion tons. It may produce 42 million tons a year, rising to as much as 90 million tons of unprocessed coal, making it one of the world’s largest coal mines.[2] According to Mining Technology, "The total coal reserves at Zambeze are estimated to be nine billion tons as of 31 May 2010. Indicated reserves have been estimated to be 2,365Mt while inferred resources total 6,680Mt."[3]

The project will be developed in association with Chinese steelmaker Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation (WISCO), which entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Riversdale Mining in June 2010. Riversdale submitted an environmental impact assessment to the government in 2010. A definitive feasibility study on the project was expected to begin in 2011 with production scheduled to commence in 2014.[3]

In 2011, Rio Tinto Group acquired Riversdale Mining.[4]

In July 2014, International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL) bought Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique's interest in the Benga mine along with its other exploration titles in Tete province of Mozambique for US$50 million. ICVL is a consortium 65 per cent owned by Indian government-owned companies and 35 per cent owned by Tata Steel, a subsidiary of Tata Group.[5]

ICVL had ambitious plans to invest two billion dollars linked to Mozambique’s coal. These included ramping up mining to 13 million tonnes of coal annually, a project to transform coal into liquid fuels, and the construction of a 300-megawatt power station at the Benga mine, the Benga power station (ICVL). However, in 2015 the company suspended its operations in Mozambique as the international price of coking coal plummeted to below US$80 a tonne. But in 2017 ICVL said it was reconsidering its plans since prices have risen to around US$190/tonne for Australian coking coal.[6]

Articles and resources


  1. Riversdale Mining, "Mozambique Tenements", Riversdale Mining website, accessed January 2011.
  2. Carli Lourens, "Rio May Add 25 Million Tons of Mozambique Coal Through Riversdale Takeover" Bloomberg, June 20, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Zambeze Coal Mine, Changara, Mozambique". 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  4. "Rio Tinto claims control of Riversdale". 2011-04-11. Archived from the original on 2012-06-11. Retrieved 2011-04-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. Rio Tinto, "Rio Tinto agrees sale of coal assets in Mozambique", Media Release, July 30, 2014.
  6. "ICVL to resume mining coal in Tete," Club of Mozambique, 27 Sep 2017

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