Japanese conglomerate Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal (NSSM) is buying coking coal from Vale’s Moatize coking coal project in Mozambique.

The Japanese group bought its first cargo from the Brazilian mining major's Moatize project earlier in 2012 and plans to buy more cargoes before the end of the year.

“We started buying from Vale Moatize several months ago,” NSSM raw materials development general manager Yasushi Aoki told delegates at the Coaltrans Mozambique conference in Maputo on Tuesday November 20.

“We have been happy with the quality of the coal and plan to purchase more cargoes this year,” he added.

NSSM already has its own interest in a start-up Mozambican coking coal mine. The steelmaker holds a 33.3% stake in the Revuboe coking coal project in Tete, a joint venture with Posco which holds 7.8%, and the privately-owned Talbot Estate mining investment group.

Talbot sold its 58.9% stake in Revuboe to Anglo American for $555 million in July – although the deal is yet to be finalised.

The project currently has JORC resources of 1.4 billion tonnes of hard coking coal and thermal coal, with an export potential of 6-9 billion tpy.

Steelmakers needed evidence that planned logistics projects to transport coal from the coal-rich Tete province to ports on the coast would be complete before they commit to long-term supply agreements with Mozambican producers, Aoki said.

Michelle Madsen 
Twitter: @mmadsen_SF