Bloomberg News

Essar to Process Zimbabwe Iron Ore If It Decides to Export

June 14, 2011

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Essar Africa Holdings Ltd., a unit of Essar Group, said it will process Zimbabwean iron ore before exporting it through a terminal it may build in Mozambique.

The company is considering building iron ore and coal export terminals in the Mozambican port city of Beira, it said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg today. In March, Essar agreed to buy control of the steel and mining assets of the state-owned Zimbabwe Iron & Steel Co., known as Zisco.

“Mozambique is the logical exit point for any exports of iron ore from Zimbabwe,” Essar said. “Any export of iron ore from mines in Zimbabwe would only happen after beneficiation to add value.”

Essar is considering a 20 million metric-ton-per-year iron ore terminal in Mozambique to ship surplus production from Zimabwbe’s Ripple Creek and Mwanesi mines, Firdhose Coovadia, Essar’s director for the Middle East and Africa, said at a June 8 iron ore conference in Cape Town. A coal terminal of the same size may also be built, he said.

There is no agreement to build a slurry pipeline from Zimbabwe to Mozambique, Mumbai-based Essar said. Earlier Securities Africa, a research company, had said in a note to clients that a slurry pipeline would be built.

Essar took control of 54 percent of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Corp. March 9 in a deal worth about $750 million, according to Zimbabwe’s industry minister Welshman Ncube. Essar will have 80 percent of a venture that will operate the mines, the company said today.

--With assistance from Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg. Editors: Antony Sguazzin, Philip Sanders

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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