Mustang discovers huge graphite reserves in Mozambique

LONDON – The Australian mining company, Mustang Resources, has announced that it has discovered high-grade graphite at its Caula project in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

According to a company press release, “spectacular grades of up to 26 percent Total Graphitic Carbon demonstrate potential for Caula to become a low-cost supplier to the lithium battery industry”.

The cores from the drilling programme are being sent to Perth in Australia for testing and will be used to estimate the deposit’s reserves in line with the Australian code for reporting mineral resources.

Mustang has observed that the graphite deposit contains large flakes, and it will carry out a comprehensive analysis to confirm this finding.

Graphite is a form of carbon that is highly valued due to its properties as a conductor of electricity. It is used in batteries and fuel cells and is the basis for the “miracle material” graphene, which is the strongest material ever measured, with vast potential for use in the electronics industries. Graphite is also used for high-quality steel production.

Following the announcement, the company’s share price jumped by almost ten percent on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, the Mozambican electricity company, EDM, has requested authorisation from the government to increase electricity prices, reports Wednesday’s issue of the independent daily, O Pais.

Speaking in the southern province of Inhambane, the EDM spokesperson, Luis Amado, said the increase proposed was 1.32 meticais (around two US cents) per kilowatt-hour.

“We hope this is approved, and a price rise for next year as well,” said Amado, “until we reach a point where what we buy is reflected in the price we sell to the public. Then we will have a platform on which to grow and expand sustainably”.

He recognised that a price increase would hit consumers in their pockets, but argued there is no other way out, given the financial crisis facing EDM.

In November 2016, EDM increased electricity prices by an average of 1.49 meticais per kilowatt-hour – the first increase in the price of electricity for five years.

In percentage terms, the prices rose by between 27 and 40 percent. The price per kilowatt-hour roses from 4.16 to 5.8 meticais for consumers on the low voltage general tariff (for industries, trade, offices, shops and similar establishments) who use up to 300 kWh a month. This was an increase of 39 percent.

Use of more than 300kWh pushed the price up steeply. Between 301 and 500kWh the price rose from 5.94 to 8.29 meticais per kilowatt-hour. Above 500kWh a month, the increase was from 6.5 to 9.07 meticais per kilowatt-hour.

The preferential household tariff is considerably lower. For the first 300kWh, the price rose from 2.95 to 4.04 meticais per kilowatt hour, and between 301 and 500kWh a month from 4.17 to 5.72 meticais per kilowatt-hour. Consumption in excess of 500kWh now cost six meticais rather than 4.38 meticais per kilowatt hour. This increase is 37 percent.

Farmers enjoy a lower tariff. This agricultural tariff rose by only 27 percent, from 2.68 to 3.4 meticais per kilowatt-hour for the first 300kWh, and rising to 5.3 meticais per kilowatt hour for consumption in excess of 500kWh.

In addition, all these consumers pay an additional fixed rate, irrespective of consumption, which rose from 108.82 to 152.37 meticais a month (a 40 percent rise).

The “social tariff” for low-income domestic consumers, who use less than 100kWh a month remained unchanged, at 1.07 meticais per kilowatt-hour.

Speaking to reporters at the time, the chairperson of the EDM board, Mateus Magala, said price rises were essential “in order to mobilise resources to ensure universal access to electricity by 2030”.

Magala said that, with a general tariff equivalent to 5.3 US cents per kilowatt hour, Mozambican electricity remained the cheapest in the region. In other members of SADC (Southern African Development Community), electricity costs 12.5 US cents per kilowatt-hour, which made further investment possible, and this greater access to electricity. –  AIM

March 2017
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