Vale has started mining operations at its $1.6bn Moatize coal project in the Tete province of Mozambique.

The coal from the Moatize project will be transported through 600km of Sena railway line to the coal terminal, which is under construction at Port of Beira in Sofala province.

The firm started pre-operational activities at the mine in last year.

The firm expects to start production in July 2011, producing 11Mt of metallurgical and thermal coal per annum.

Vale has invested more than $90m in social projects covering health, agriculture, infrastructure, sports and education, in addition to the relocation of 1,300 families into fully equipped villages to advance and ensure the sustainability of the local communities.