Maputo, 8 Jul (AIM) - Mozambique has revived a plan to build a deep water port in Matutuine district, in Maputo province, budgeted at about $2.34 billion, reports Thursday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
The original proposal was to build the port at Ponta Dobela, but serious environmental problems led to switching the site to Techobanine, a few kilometres from Dobela. Although the idea for such a port has been on the drawing board for many years, so far nothing at all has been built.
Speaking at a ceremony on Wednesday to swear into office new members of the Board of Directors of the publicly owned Ports and Railway company, CFM, Transport Minister Paulo Zucula said that the new port will not only relieve pressure one Maputo port, but would serve Botswana for the export of its minerals.
Zucula said that a port at Techobanine will be able to handle more cargo than Maputo, and since it is a natural deep water harbour, it will not need dredging, unlike Maputo and Beira.
Mozambique has been following attentively the ongoing exploration for coal in Botswana, where preliminary findings indicate that the country has a potential to extract about 40 million tonnes a year. CFM has its eyes on exporting the bulk of Botswana's future coal exports.
Despite the fact that the figures on the Botswana coal potential are merely indicative, CFM analysts believe that the port at Techobanine would still be feasible, taking into account that Maputo port, with its maximum capacity of 25 million tonnes a year, would not cope with such massive coal exports.
In a recent statement, former CFM board chairperson Rui Fonseca noted that the big volume of coal exports from Botswana will require the use of very large vessels, which Techobanine is better able to receive than Maputo port because of its deep waters.
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