TOKYO, April 4 Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal
Corp got the go ahead to start developing Mozambique's
Revuboe coking coal mine, Japan's biggest steelmaker said on
Thursday, a week after Anglo American dropped plans to
buy a majority stake in the project.
Nippon Steel, which along with Nippon Steel Trading
owns a third of the project, aims to start production from the
mine located in Mozambique's promising Moatize coal basin in
2016, after gaining the mining license this week.
The mine is expected to produce five million tonnes of
coking coal a year at full capacity, a level that Nippon Steel
expects to reach by 2019.
Mozambique holds some of the largest untapped deposits of
coking coal and is set to become a key source of the
sought-after premium, hard grade that is used in making steel.
Last week, Anglo American abandoned a $555-million plan to
buy a stake in the Revuboe project, in another sign of prudence
by major miners chastised by investors for excessive spending
and poor acquisitions.
A Nippon Steel executive told reporters in Tokyo that while
the firm was open to joining other mining projects, it was not
looking to lift its stake in the Revuboe mine, which is majority
owned by the estate of deceased mining magnate Ken Talbot.
"At our core we are a steel company. If the majority owner
does not have proper mining experience, this project loses its
luster for us," said Shinichi Fujiwara, a managing executive
officer at Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal.
Talbot, one of Australia's richest men and founder of
Macarthur Coal, died in a plane crash in central Africa in 2010
and his estate has been for sale since.
South Korean steelmaker POSCO also owns shares
in Revuboe, located in Tete Province.