African president visits Mackay’s coal

The President of the Republic of Mozambique Armando Guebuza was in Mackay yesterday learning about coal export and infrastructure in the region as part of his Australian tour.

In his first leg of a week-long tour, the African president spent a full day in Mackay on a guided tour with rail company Aurizon.

The tour included a ride on the rail line and a tour of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, The Daily Mercury reported.

Aurizon managing director and CEO Lance Hockridge said it was a great opportunity fir the region to showcase its world-class infrastructure.

"Mozambique is developing its resource sector, particularly the coal sector.

"So this has particularly been an opportunity for the president and his colleagues to see exactly what we are capable of," he said.

Mozambique has huge coal resources, but has a long way to go in terms of pit to port infrastructure.

Hockridge said the relationship between Australia and the African nation was growing, with Aurizon currently helping Mozambique rail line operator CFM with technical support.

“Frankly speaking, it is about 30-40 years behind what we see here," Hockridge said.

"It's very much around complementary development … of course we want first and foremost to underpin the continued development of the coal industry in Central Queensland, but it is very complementary. It's the same technology, it's the same product, it's the same miners."

However, many have questioned whether a burgeoning coal industry will get off the ground in the country after Rio Tinto posted a $2.8 billion write-down at its Riversdale, a move many believe contributed to the demise of former CEO Tom Albanese. And according to UBS commodities analyst Tom Price a move which has dimmed the view of Mozambique coal.

Price told Fairfax Media yields from Rio's Riversdale assets in Mozambique were around 50 per cent lower than normal because of their high clay content.

He also said the lack of washing and transport infrastructure meant doing business in the country could be more complicated and expensive than in developed regions.

Image: Daily Mercury

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