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ENH’s Mitha expects Area 1 FID next month; Guebuza-linked sand mine to start exports in May

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 12 March, 2019


  • Today: Filipe Nyusi starts a three-day visit to Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland)
  • Today: Interior minister Jaime Basílio Monteiro at a SADC ministerial meeting in Windhoek, Namíbia

Today’s headlines:

  • ENH’s Mitha expects Area 1 FID next month (AIM)
  • Beira left in the dark by Tropical Cyclone Idai (Club of Mozambique, INAM)
  • Finance minister argues again to keep paying ‘hidden’ debts (A Verdade, Lusa)
  • Guebuza-linked sand mine to start exports in May (Notícias)
  • Samito case won’t be discussed at Frelimo Central Committee (Carta de Moçambique, Canal de Moçambique)

ENH’s Mitha expects Area 1 FID next month (AIM)
The Anadarko-led Area 1 onshore LNG project is expected to take its final investment decision (FID) next month, Omar Mitha, the chairman of Mozambique's national oil company ENH, said yesterday, according to state news agency AIM. Mitha said the Area 4 onshore LNG project, led by ExxonMobil, should take FID in July.
The timing of Exxon’s FID is dependent on when the government approves the plan of development, the latest draft of which was submitted in December. Zitamar understands some of the matters currently under discussion are the volume and price of domestic gas from Area 4. Exxon is using Anadarko’s domestic gas obligation as a benchmark, but the government want to negotiate a better deal than they struck with Area 1.

Beira left in the dark by Tropical Cyclone Idai (Club of Mozambique, INAM)
Tropical Cyclone Idai has knocked out power and communications in Beira and elsewhere in the province of Sofala, since it made landfall last night. The latest update from the Mozambican Meteorological Institute, INAM, says Idai has now been downgraded from a Category 4 Cylone to a Category 3, with winds of up to 140 km/h. By 2pm local time this afternoon, it is expected to be an ex-Tropical Cyclone, with winds of up to 70 km/h as it heads inland to Manica province.
The reality of the storm seems to have been slightly below expectations, but still hugely destructive. For now, the lack of communications makes it impossible to know the scale of the devastation; one major humanitarian NGO in Maputo told Zitamar this morning they are unable to establish any contact with their people in Beira.
From the information that is available, it seems there was more strong wind than rainfall in Beira. There are no reports of heavy flooding in the Zambezi valley. The city of Quelimane was spared from the first impact, but there are reports of heavy damage in Chinde, at the mouth of Zambezi river. There are four helicopters positioned in Quelimane and Beira to assist the most needed places, and an emergency team from South Africa is helping INGC in the rescuing and medical assistance operations.

Finance minister argues again to keep paying ‘hidden’ debts (A Verdade, Lusa)
The state is liable to honour the guarantees for the EMATUM, ProIndicus, and MAM loans, finance minister Adriano Maleiane said in parliament yesterday, because Mozambican law makes the state responsible for contracts entered into by state agents. He also said that the English courts are the right place to decide on the validity of the guarantees, as that is the jurisdiction specified in the contracts. He said that renegotiating the syndicated loans of MAM and ProIndicus is relatively easy, as they just have to negotiate with the arranging banks Credit Suisse and VTB Capital, whereas there are various investors who decided to invest in the sovereign bond which replaced the EMATUM notes “because the information they had was that it is a serious country which will pay.”
Maleiane is clearly in favour of continuing to pay the debts, no matter how corrupt they were, so banks keep lending to the country. He and the Prime Minister are so far being careful not to contradict each other directly, but the mixed messages cannot help Mozambique’s court case in London.
Maleiane may also feel a personal responsibility towards the creditors, due to his involvement as head of BNI at the time - in which case he should arguably be replaced by someone less personally compromised by the scandal. But it could also be a coordinated government strategy to tell one thing to the electorate, and another to the international financial markets.

Guebuza-linked sand mine to start exports in May (Notícias)Mining company Tazetta Resources (wrongly spelled by Notícias as Tazita Resources) will start exporting ilmenite and zircon to China and Vietnam from their mine at Pebane, on the Zambezia coast north of Quelimane, in May. Provincial governor Abdul Razak has promised to send customs and tax officials to monitor the exports.
Mozambican company records show that Tazetta is owned by Mauritius-registered Avant Exploration, and Mozambique-registered Inforcom Invest, which was established by two Uzbek nationals in 2007. In 2008, it went into business with Valentina Guebuza, daughter of then-President Armando Guebuza; and in 2010, Jose Eduardo Dai, a nephew of Guebuza’s wife Maria da Luz, became a shareholder in the company. Dai was before involved with the Kazakh coal conglomerate ERNC, which has a concession in Changara, Tete Province.
Tazetta has three mining concessions near Pebane and one additional exploration licence. It will produce the same minerals as the well-established Moma mine, owned by Kenmare on the coast of Nampula province, which recorded a profit of $93.3 million in 2018, according to results released this week.

Samito case won’t be discussed at Frelimo Central Committee (Carta de Moçambique, Canal de Moçambique)
Samora Machel Júnior, known as Samito, had a hearing with the Frelimo verification committee on 11 March and has been given 15 days to respond to the charges of acting against the interests of the party - meaning the case is on ice until 26 March, two days after the end of the party’s Central Committee (CC) meeting. Marcelo Mosse writes in Carta de Moçambique that the timing is deliberate to avoid the case being discussed at the CC - with the aim that it is quietly forgotten about without Samito being expelled from the party.
It doesn’t necessarily follow that the case won’t be discussed at the CC, even if it’s not on the official agenda, as a decision will still need to be made at some point following the meeting - even if it does have to take into account Samito’s representations which will be submitted on the 26th. It may also be possible for Samito to respond earlier than the 15 days allowed, ahead of the CC meeting.
It’s understandable that Frelimo want to brush this issue under the carpet for now; if Samito were to be expelled, he might found a rival party which could undermine the long-term dominance of Frelimo. The decision not to let him become Maputo mayor, which led to the current situation, seems to have been a strategic error, possibly out of personal animus on the part of President Nyusi.

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