The Obtala Limited sawmill in Nampula, Mozambique, started operating in the first quarter of 2018 after receiving new equipment purchased in South Africa and the transfer of some existing machines from the old Uape sawmill, the group said in a statement.
The statement, which reports on the group’s results in the first quarter, recalls that tree felling is banned in Mozambique from January to March, and this period of time was used to test the machines with sawn wood in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The group also said that a delegation was due to travel to Mozambique in the second quarter of this year to continue negotiations with FundInvest, in order to draw up business plan that meets the interests of both parties.
Lat January the forestry group announced it had signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with investment company FundInvest to combat illegal logging and promote timber processing in Mozambique.
FundInvest, founded by the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development, will be managed under the memorandum with 51% of the share capital of the partnership, with the remaining 49% to be divided into 1.0% for the Obtala group and 48% for Argento, a subsidiary of the group.
The group reported sales of US$3.9 million in the first three months of the year, processed 3,600 cubic metres of wood, and raised US$ 6.35 million by issuing shares, of which 24% were subscribed by members its management team.
The Obtala group, based in Guernsey, has 10 forestry concessions in Mozambique, namely in the province of Manica, which occupy an area of 120,000 hectares.