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Mozambique floats tender to improve depleted rail network

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Mozambique has floated an international tender to invite bids to improve its depleted rail network. This according to the country’s transport ministry was an integral part of an ongoing charm offensive aimed at luring prospective investors keen on tapping into the southern African nation´s vast unexplored natural resources.

“The Mozambique government has invited expressions of interest for setting up of a rail network for coal evacuation in the African nation and four companies have shown interest,” said a statement from the Transport and Communications Ministry on Sunday.

Coal India (CIL), which won a five-year mine exploration and development permit in Mozambique in August 2009, had earlier considered establishing a 450-km rail network to transport coal to a port.

CIL has also written a proposal to invite potential partners for the building of the rail lines.

The two coal blocks – A1 and A2 – at Moatize in Tete province are spread over 200 sq km and are being developed by CIL subsidiary Coal India Africana Limitada.

Sources have said that the contract for initial drilling was awarded in November last year with CIL informing an inter-ministerial panel that the first stage of drilling had been completed in May.

“Further drilling started in the first week of June 2013. The selection of an agency for drilling of 30,000 metres was completed in May 2013,” the Indian firms told the panel which reviews the performance of Maharatna firms.

The Sena railway, a key infrastructure to transport coal from the Moatize Mines in the northern province of Tete is in poor state with frequent derailments which has seen global mining giants such as Rio Tinto lose vast amounts of coal in accidents.

Brazil´s Vale and Anglo Australian Rio Tinto have been pouring billions of dollars into the exploration for coal which could supply such a resource to Europe for ten years.

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