9 May 2011Brazilian mining giant Vale has opened a new US$1.7-billion (R11.39-billion) coal mine in Mozambique, tapping the southern African country’s thermal and coking coal reserves of around 23-billion tonnes.Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and outgoing Vale chief executive Roger Agnelli opened the mine together on Sunday by pressing a button that triggered an underground explosion, enabling the company to bring to the surface its first coal from the mine in Moatize, outside the city of Tete in northwest Mozambique.As a giant smoke cloud mushroomed over the hundreds of VIP guests, a large truck brought a symbolic load to a conveyer belt and onward to a coal washing plant.“A dream of decades today becomes a reality,” said Guebuza.Largest single investmentThe $1.7-billion project is the largest single investment to date in Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries.Vale plans to start production in July and export one-million tonnes of coal this year, ramping up output to 11-million tonnes in a few years – and, local officials hope, boosting Mozambique’s current economic growth of 6.5%.Agnelli said the project would add as much as $3-billion to the economy.“Africa means opportunities,” he told journalists.Mozambique’s coal reserves have gone largely untapped since independence from Portugal in 1975. A civil war from 1977 to 1992 crippled the country’s economy and decimated its infrastructure.Two decades later, Mozambique is welcoming foreign investors to its mineral wealth and licking its lips at the prospect of a boom.In 2004, Vale became the first international mining giant to be granted a concession in Mozambique. At the peak of preparations, the company counted 7 500 workers, mostly Mozambican.Australian mining company Riversdale, in a partnership with Indian companies Tata steel and Jindal Steel and Power, are also developing major coal mines in Mozambique.Infrastructure concerns remainBut concerns remain about getting the product to market, as infrastructure renovation lags behind: “We are running at this stage to get the infrastructure ready for export,” said Agnelli, adding that exports would start in July, though railway authorities told AFP they would only be ready in August.Mozambique is scrambling to finish a much-delayed rebuilding of the 600-kilometre Sena railway line that connects coal-rich Moatize to the Indian Ocean port city of Beira. The coal terminal at the port is also unfinished.Even when ready, the Sena line will only be able to handle six-million tonnes of coal a year – four-million allocated to Vale and two-million to Riversdale – caps that are less than half the companies’ respective export goals.Vale is investing in another railway line from Tete to the northern port of Nacala, the coutry’s only deep-water port and a gateway to Indian Ocean ports for Mozambique’s land-locked southern African neighbours.The company is also funding the reconstruction of an international airbase in Nacala, Agnelli said.Sapa
Suspended Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former Lok Sabha member from Koraput, Jayaram Pangi, joined the BJP here on Tuesday.Mr. Pangi, who was suspended from BJD after the recent panchayat polls over “anti-party activities”, joined the BJP in the presence of Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and others. Former Congress leader Giridhar Gamang, who had joined the BJP two nearly two years ago, was also present.While Mr. Pradhan said that Mr. Pangi joining the BJP will be a boost to the party in tribal-dominated areas, senior BJD leader from Koraput, Rabi Narayan Nand, said it will not make any difference to his party.Murder caseMr. Pangi’s name had figured in the case relating to the murder of primary school teacher Itishree Pradhan at Tikiri in Rayagada district in 2013. The BJD had denied a party ticket to the tribal leader in 2014 elections Meanwhile, a tweet by Baijayant Panda, BJD MP from Kendrapara, created a flutter in political circles during the day. “One gone yesterday, another today. Yet when I cautioned last week, was contradicted. Now large sections unrepresented, resentment everywhere,” he tweeted. He was referring to BJD leader Amar Nayak joining the BJP in Jajpur district on Monday and Mr. Pangi joining the saffron party on Tuesday.Reacting to Mr. Panda’s tweet, BJD spokesman Pratap Keshari Deb said the MP should have asked the BJP how they accepted Mr. Pangi, whom they had accused of having a role behind the killing of Itishree Pradhan. “The BJP was accusing the BJD of shielding Mr. Pangi in the murder case, but how did they accept him now,” he asked.
The National Water Commission (NWC) Customer Census Mapping Project is currently under way in May Pen, Clarendon, where the agency’s representatives are collecting relevant data in order to improve service delivery to existing and potential customers. More than 200,000 persons have already been mapped within the Kingston and St. Andrew region and sections of St. Catherine. Story Highlights NWC Corporate Public Relations Manager, Charles Buchanan, told JIS News that the islandwide exercise, being conducted through the entity’s Geographic Information System (GIS) Department, involves collecting data on the total number of persons served by the Commission in a digital format. The National Water Commission (NWC) Customer Census Mapping Project is currently under way in May Pen, Clarendon, where the agency’s representatives are collecting relevant data in order to improve service delivery to existing and potential customers.More than 200,000 persons have already been mapped within the Kingston and St. Andrew region and sections of St. Catherine.NWC Corporate Public Relations Manager, Charles Buchanan, told JIS News that the islandwide exercise, being conducted through the entity’s Geographic Information System (GIS) Department, involves collecting data on the total number of persons served by the Commission in a digital format.“(This) will allow us to have information about the exact location of persons who are served and how much demand is expected from different parts of the network,” he noted.Data gathering is carried out through door-to-door surveys, and each customer is mapped through global positioning system (GPS)-enabled android devices.The information garnered, Mr. Buchanan said, will be used to identify areas of inadequacies in the NWC’s service system.He highlighted that the issue of locating customers, especially in rural areas without standard street numbering, poses a challenge and results in operational inefficiencies, which the project is geared at correcting.As such, he said that the mapping project represents an “important step in using the available technology to modernise our operations and to ensure that we are more effective and efficient in our ability to provide excellent service to our customers”.Mr. Buchanan is urging members of the public to continue cooperating with representatives from the NWC who are tasked with the collection of data.“Most of our customers have been quite facilitating and cooperative with our team,” he told JIS News.Meanwhile, Mr. Buchanan shared that the NWC has implemented over 125 projects across the island, all at various stages of development.“Each project’s impact and the way it will change the NWC’s mode of operation will vary,” he said.