India-based International Coal Venture (ICVL) has announced plans to increase annual production at its Benga mine over the next five years.

The mine is currently producing 5.3 million tonnes and was acquired by ICVL from Rio Tinto in 2014 for $50m.

As part of its expansion plans, the Indian company will boost annual production at the Benga mine to 13 million tonnes.

Reuters reported ICVL Mozambique director Nirmal Chandra Jha saying at a conference that the mine’s target is 13 million tonnes in five years’ time and is currently producing approximately four million tonnes per annmun.

"We hope that in five years, the infrastructure will also improve. That’s a big hope."

Chandra Jha said: "We hope that in five years, the infrastructure will also improve. That’s a big hope."

The expansion is however dependent on improvement of rail infrastructure as the rail system of Mozambique has the capacity to handle about six million tonnes a year.

In July 2014, Rio Tinto signed an agreement to sell Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique, which comprises the Benga coal mine and other projects in the Tete province of Mozambique to ICVL.

Rio Tinto acquired the assets as part of its acquisition of Riversdale Mining in 2011.

At that time, Rio Tinto said it will continue to manage the mine to the highest safety and environmental standards.

Located in Tete, Changara District, Tete Province, the Benga coal mine has coal reserves amounting to 1.9 billion tonnes of coking coal and is currently producing prime hard coking coal and thermal coal.

ICVL is a joint venture of five companies owned by the Indian Government comprising Steel Authority of India, Coal India, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, National Minerals Development and National Thermal Power.