A Country Rich in Natural Resources
The Mozambique mining industry is rapidly developing and its mineral potential is still largely untapped. However, mining in Mozambique plays a role in global coal, gold, graphite, and ilmenite production. The Tete highlands have large coal reserves, and the natural gas fields in the Inhambane province have proven to be commercially viable. Most of the mining and mineral processing operations in Mozambique are privately owned.
History of Mozambique Mining
Until the 1980s, Mozambique’s natural resources were largely undeveloped. After the peace accord in 1992, the country achieved greater political stability, and foreign investment dramatically increased. A wide range of development projects soon followed, particularly in coal, gold, and natural gas.
Coal Mining in Mozambique
Coal production is one of the fastest growing industries in Mozambique. Vale and Rio Tinto are developing mines and setting up the infrastructure to export commodities. Two railroad projects that have been constructed have given Mozambique the capacity to transport six million tons of coal per year. Going forward, it is expected that the Mozambique coal industry will be a major driver behind global coal production.
Gold Mining in Mozambique
Gold deposits in Mozambique have attracted local and global investment, though it has been slow to develop. In recent years, regulation has improved, leading to expectations that the gold mining industry will grow exponentially. Deposits in the Niassa, Manica, and Tete provinces have already begun to attract significant investment attention. Although several large-scale gold mining operations are under development, artisanal miners are still producing small amounts of gold.
Tantalite Mining in Mozambique
In 2006, an estimated 240,000 kilograms of tantalite was produced in Mozambique by Marropino Mine, which is owned by Highland African Mining Company (HAMC). The company also holds a licence to mine tantalite at Morrua Mine, which has been shut for several decades. Should Morrua Mine be reopened, as much as 230,000 kilograms of tantalite could be produced.
Aluminum Mining in Mozambique
The Mozal smelter operated in Mozambique by BHP Billiton is one of Africa’s largest aluminum smelters. Aluminum production is one of the top revenue generators for the country and there is a major drive to secure investments from more developed economies.
Natural Gas Mining in Mozambique
The natural gas industry is rapidly expanding in Mozambique. The discovery of a massive natural gas reserve made off the Mozambique coast near Pemba could make the country one of the most significant exporters of natural gas to Asia. The reserve contains an estimated 32 trillion cubic metres of natural gas.
Mining Companies Operating in Mozambique
The mining industry in Mozambique is developing, and several mining companies have a strong presence in the country, including:
- Rio Tinto
- BHP Billiton
- Kenmare Resources
- Highland African Mining Company
- Syrah Resources
- Benga Colliery
- Moma Heavy Mineral Sands Mine