June 4, 2008 / 4:41 PM / 10 years ago

Mozambique venture to invest $150 mln in biofuels

MAPUTO, June 4 (Reuters) - A Mozambican joint venture company will invest $150 million in the production of biodiesel from jatropha over the next six years, a company official said on Wednesday.

Odeveza, owned by a group of Canadian and Mozambican firms, said the projects would create about 700 jobs and could make Mozambique one of Africa’s biggest biofuels producers.

“The $150 million investment is aimed at intensive jatropha production for biodiesel extraction in an area of over 70,000 hectares identified in the districts of Barue and Gondola in Manica province and Buzi in Sofala province,” company director, Fernando Azevedo told reporters in Maputo.

Mozambique’s government is speeding up the installation of facilities to produce biodiesel extracted from jatropha, an oleaginous plant that grows abundantly in the country, as well as for the production of alcohol derived from sugarcane.

Last October, Mozambique approved a $510 million deal with London-listed Central African Mining & Exploration Company Plc (CAMEC) CFM.L to build a plant to produce 120 million litres of ethanol a year by 2010.

The government has said the raw material for the ethanol will be sugar cane planted over an area of 30,000 ha in the southern province of Gaza.

Editing by Christopher Johnson

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