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“The situation demands attention, but it is not expected to evolve into a conflict,” he told journalists in a conference call on Thursday November 7.

Operations at the company’s Moatize coking coal mine in Mozambique are continuing as normal.

Violence between the army and opposition political party Renamo escalated last week, and fears over growing political unrest in the African country led Rio Tinto to ship home the families of expatriate workers.

Downey also reconfirmed the timeframe for Moatize’s expansion project.

The additional 11 million-tpy coking coal output capacity is expected to come into operation in the second half of 2013, while the Nacala Corridor is planned to be operational by the second half 2014.

“The first coal cargo should be loaded on Nacala’s railway in September next year, while the first shipment is expected in the first quarter of 2015,” Downey said.

The Nacala Corridor will connect Moatize to the port of Nacala with a total transport capacity of 18 million tpy.