Riversdale Mining has received approval from the Mozambican Government to develop an $800m coal mine in the country’s north-west.

Mozambique’s regulatory authority for the environment, the Ministerio Para a Coordenazao Aczao Ambiental, approved the Benga coking and thermal coal project after completing an environmental impact study in mid-2009.

The project, which will be developed in three phases, will initially produce five million tonts per annum, which will then be increased to 20 million tons as the country’s transport infrastructure in the country improves.

The mine, in Tete Providence, is estimated to contain 92 million tons of probable reserves and 181 million tons of proven reserves.

Riversdale owns a 65% interest in the mine, while Tata Steel holds the remaining 35% stake.