Minas Moatize is an open-pit coal mine located near Tete Province in Mozambique. Credits: Parilov/Shutterstock.
The first shipment of 10,650t of coal from the Minas Moatize Mine was made in December 2011 at the Port of Beira on MV Aztec Maiden. Credits: Sbuda/Shutterstock.
A truck transporting coal to MV Aztec Maiden at the Port of Beira. Credits: Mark Zannoni/Shutterstock.

The Minas Moatize coal mine is located near Tete Province, in Mozambique. The mine is connected by the Nacala Logistics Corridor (NLC) and crosses the Republic of Malawi.

Beacon Hill has been managing the Minas Moatize coal mine since May 2010. It acquired the mine from the former owners Borneo Mining / AMCI for $35m and converted the underground operations to an open-pit operation.

Global Coke signed an agreement with Beacon Hills Resources in November 2011 to off-take 600,000tpa of coking coal for the lifetime of the mine. The developer is also looking for other off-take partners and potential marketers.

BHR entered a marketing partnership with Vitol Group in March 2012, as part of which the latter markets and exports the coal produced at Minas Moatize.

The mine entered the second phase expansion of the open-pit operations in September 2014.

Mitsui acquired a 15% equity interest in the project from Vale in March 2017.

Vale has an 80% stake, Mitsui has 15% and the remaining 5% stake is owned by the Empresa Moçambicana de Exploração Mineira (EMEM).

Vale is currently planning operational improvement initiatives at its Moatize mine that are expected to achieve a production rate of 15Mtpa in the second half of 2021 and 18Mtpa in 2022.

The two processing plants will be revamped and modified to a new procedure, beginning in November 2020.

A mining concession expected to close in 2032, which can be extended for an additional 25-year term, subject to approval by the Government of Mozambique.

Proven and probable coal reserves and hard coking coal production

The mine has proven reserves of 194.6t and probable reserves of 719.2t. The estimated mineable reserves are 913.8t and marketable reserves are 364.9t.

Beacon Hills produced about 5Mt of coal in Q1-2014. The mine produced hard coking coal of 68-71 coke strength after reaction (CSR) range for the steel industry. It is expected to be priced at $206.09/t, as per the free on-board (FOB) basis in Australia.

The Moatize coal mine produces a total of approximately 8.7Mt.

Mining and processing of coal from Mozambique’s Minas Moatize deposit

The mining area of Minas Moatize lies in the Chipanga Seam at the centre of the Moatize coking coal basin. Mining operations have been historically done with a pillar mining system using a scraper winch. The mining has now been limited to small scale open-pit operations.

BHR started mining of thermal coal from the first open pit, Trial Pit 1 (TP1), in the second quarter of 2011. The first wash plant (a temporary coal handling and preparation plant) was commissioned in the first half of that year. The plant is expected to process the coal at a rate of 100tph. It is equivalent to 600,000tpa of run-of-mine (ROM) coal.

The first export shipment of the thermal coal from the mine was in December 2011. About 10,650t of coal was transported to the Port of Beira through trucks and shipped using the MV Aztec Maiden bulk carrier vessel.

Mining of hard coking coal from Upper Chipanga Pit (UCP), the second open pit at the mine, started in March 2012.

Beacon Hill Resources’ expansion feasibility study of Minas Moatize coal mine

Beacon Hill Resources completed a $1.7m definitive feasibility study (DFS) on the proposed expansion of the Minas Moatize mine in February 2012. A joint venture of TWP Australia Projects and its parent company Basil Read were the DFS consultants.

The expansion included the construction of a 750tph feed rate capacity coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP).

Contractors involved with BHR’s Minas Moatize coal mine project

Basil Read Mining was the contractor for the opencast mining. Basil Read Turnkey Projects constructed the opencast mine and built, owned and operated the coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP).

BHR Mining took the help of ALS and M&L, and ACT-UIS for sampling tests of the coal core. Resource modelling services were provided by Sound Mining Solution (SMS).

Transporting and handling coal produced from the African deposit

Local logistics contractor Transportes Lalgy used a fleet of 20 trucks, each capable of 36t of load capacity. The fleet is expected to transport 0.5Mtpa of coal to the Port of Beira.

Beacon Hills also discussed with the Mozambique Government for allocation of the refurbished Sena Railway Line for transportation of the coal to the port. The 574km railway line significantly reduces transportation costs and facilitated the exportation of larger volumes of coal, up to 12Mtpa.

The coal is transported through the NLC from the Moatize mine to the maritime terminal at Nacala-à-Velha and supports operations in southeastern Africa.