Thursday, 27 January 2011

India coal proposal rejected

Mozambique has rejected a request by the state owned company Coal India for a further five coal exploration licences in Tete. Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Abdul Razak Noormahomed, said on 10 January that Coal India already has two licences in Moatize, Tete, which it has not yet begun to exploit. “They must develop what they have first. Then we will sit down and decide what to offer," Razak said.

The refusal caused a diplomatic incident, because the request was made personally by Indian Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, who was accompanied by Coal India officials, at meeting with the Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias. The meeting was supposed to discuss a Memorandum of Understanding under which India is to spend $40 million for building a Mozambican Institute of Planning and Organisation and a SADC (Southern African Development Community) regional institute for training and organisation, both aimed at the coal mining sector.

But it is part of a hard line by the Mozambicans to not hand out mineral licences to China, India and other countries on political grounds, but rather to demand concrete investment proposals.

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