Riversdale to start exporting coal from Benga project by early 2012

Riversdale Mining, the Mozambique-focussed Australian coal miner yesterday said that it will start exporting the first coking coal from its Benga project in Mozambique by early 2012.

Riversdale, which was last month acquired by mining giant Rio Tinto (See: Rio Tinto plans to de-list Riversdale), would initially produce around 2 million tonnes (Mt) of coal annually at Benga, made up of 1.7 Mt of coking coal and 0.3 Mt of thermal coal.

''We can see the coal starting to leave the port of Beira either late this year or early next year,'' mnaging director Steve Mallyon told Reuters in an interview this week.

In November 2007, Tata Steel Ltd had invested A$100 million ($88 million) in a joint venture project with Riversdale to take a 35 per cent stake in its Benga prjoect and secured 40 per cent off take of the coking coal production. (See: Tata Steel, Riversdale Mining signs JV pact for Mozambique coal project)

The coking coal derived from this project will be supplied to the Tata Steel's European steel making operations, which account for almost two-thirds of its 28 million tonnes global capacity.

Tata Steel also held 26.27 per cent stake in Riversdale, but sold it early this month to Rio Tinto for A$1.06 billion (about Rs5,074 crore) but retained its stake in the Benga prjoect.