A Japanese trading company says it plans to invest in Mozambique’s coal and transportation projects. A statement by Mitsui & Co. said on Tuesday that it decided to buy 35 percent of the Nacala rail and transportation project as well as 14 percent of the Moatize coal mine project in the southeast African country. The investment aims to facilitate “the development of the transportation and port infrastructure, which is essential for the whole coal business operations, from mining development to the shipments of the coal,” the firm’s statement read, adding that the total investment will amount to USD 763 million.
The stakes currently belong to the Brazilian company, Vale S.A., which has welcomed the upcoming transaction with Mitsui. “The transaction is essential for the continuity of our investment in Mozambique…as it provides the funding for the completion of the Moatize project and of the NLC [Nacala Logistic Corridor],” Vale S.A. said in a Tuesday statement. Many companies involved in the coal industry, including Vale, have decided to sell their stakes following a drastic fall in the global coal price which has dropped to five-year lows.
However, a Mitsui official has expressed optimism that the unfavorable situation in the coal market will undergo changes in the near future. "Some 80 percent of coal producers are considered to be running in the red. This won't continue long," said Kotaro Yamaguchi, Mitsui's coal department director, adding that "prices will go back to healthy levels." Mitsui & Co. is Japan’s second-largest trading house and one of the world’s largest corporate groups.