Mozambique’s Provincial Director of Economy and Finance in central Manica province, Virgulino Nhate, has said the government is concerned at the lack of a market for the bauxite mined in his region. In 2015, Manica produced 4,985 tonnes of bauxite, a 47 per cent increase on the 3,386 tonnes produced in 2014, but much of this production remains unsold because of the difficulties in finding a market, inside or outside the country.
Addressing a meeting of the provincial Development Observatory, Nhate said that the main potential buyer is Zambia, but for reasons that he did not know, Zambian interest in Manica bauxite has declined sharply.
“We have a lot of bauxite in the province and Zambia used to buy much of this product, but in recent years it has been buying in very small quantities, and this is compromising our production”, Nhate said.
According to the official, while it was perfectly possible to mine much more bauxite in Manica, it was not worth doing so while there was no market to absorb what was produced.
“We are working to see if we can open other fronts to place our product on the market”, said Nhate insisting that the government remains committed to finding a solution.
Bauxite is the world’s main source of aluminium. To produce aluminium, bauxite is first refined into alumina, (aluminium oxide). The alumina is then converted into aluminium in a smelter, at high temperatures and using large amounts of electricity.