Mitsui to buy stake in Vale’s Mozambique coal operations

Japanese trading house Mitsui is set to buy a 15% stake in Brazilian mining major Vale’s Mozambique coal operations.

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On Friday December 5, Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei, reported that Mitsui had signed a $1.24 billion deal to take a stake in Vale’s Moatize project, as well as to participate in the redevelopment of the Port of Nacala and the 900km-plus rail line connecting the two.

Vale confirmed on Friday that it was in talks with a potential investor, but declined to name the company.

“If there is an agreement, it will be announced to the market immediately,” ceo Murilo Ferreira told reporters at a press conference in London on Friday.

Ferreira said earlier in the week that Vale expected to announce a partner for its Moatize coking coal mine and Nacala rail corridor on December 17.

Mitsui did not return calls for comment at the time of publication.

Vale announced plans to sell a stake in its coal assets last year, including the $4.4 billion Nacala rail corridor and the high-grade Moatize coal mine.

Coking coal prices have slumped in the past year, pressured by oversupply.

Steel First’s index for premium hard coking coal fob Australia has fallen from more than $130 per tonne at the beginning of 2014 to just over $113 per tonne in early December.