Tata Steel JV to start coal production in Mozambique in 2011

Tata Steel JV to start coal production in Mozambique in 2011

New Delhi: Tata Steel and its Australia-based joint venture partner Riversdale will start production at the Benga coal project in Mozambique in 2011.

“The first stage of production at the Benga coal project will begin in 2011. Production in the second stage of development is expected to start in 2014," a Tata Steel spokesperson told the agency.

The Benga project is likely to yield over 20 million tonnes of the dry fuel every year.

The world’s sixth largest steel producer, Tata Steel, has a 35% stake in the JV project in addition to a secured right over 40% of the produce to feed its Corus facilities in the UK and Europe.

On Tuesday, in a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange, Riversdale Mining said it has completed the feasibility study for the project and has forwarded the same to the joint venture partner (Tata Steel) for its comments.

The feasibility study contemplates three stages of development of the coking-coal rich reserves, the company said, adding that it is adequately funded for its 65 per cent share of the Benga stage 1 development, which stands at $169 million (about Rs825 crore).

The Mozambique government awarded a mining contract to Tata Steel JV for the Benga coal project in May.

In 2007, Tata Steel had signed an accord with Riversdale Mining to acquire 35% stake in its Mozambique coal project for about Rs400 crore. Moreover, the steel giant has also bought about 15% stake in the Australian mining firm.

The Indian steel major had earlier maintained that its investment in the project “is a significant step" in the company’s initiatives to achieve raw material security and to enhance its long term competitiveness.