Australian firm acquires more coal mining licenses in Malawi

An Australian mining and energy company, Intra Energy Corporation (IEC), has acquired further exploration licenses for coal mining in northern Malawi, the firm said Monday.

Already the Australian mining giant holds three other exclusive prospecting licences and one mining licence in the country with its Malawian subsidiary, Malawi Coal Mining (Malcoal).

The three prospecting licences were granted in September 2005 for Mwenewenya which covers an area of 37.5 km2, Livingstonia’s 35 km2 granted in July 2005 and also in June 2007 it was granted a licence for Mwapu which has area of 12.2 km2.

All the licences were renewed on 15th June 2012 by the Joyce Banda administration.

Coal

Coal

The mining licence for Nkhachira Coal Mine was granted on 30th December 2005 for fifteen years and covers an area of two km2.

Intra Energy Corporation Limited, which also has major thermal coal assets in Tanzania, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Malawian Government for the construction and operation of a coal fired power plant.

IEC Executive Director, Jonathan Warrand said the company was pleased with the acquiring of the two new coal exploration licences in Malawi as it expands its work in Eastern Africa.

The licences were granted to another IEC’s Malawi subsidiary, Intra Energy Trading Limited (IETL) for North Rukuru which covers an area of 318 km2 immediately south of Nkhachira Coal Mine.

The other licence was granted to Malcoal for Ngana situated in Karonga north along the Malawi-Tanzania border and covers an area of 231 km2.

There was no comment from government on the matter as both ministers responsible for mining and energy John Bande and Ibrahim Matola respectively were reportedly away to the United Kingdom with President Joyce Banda on her official tour.

IEC holds a 100 percent interest in IETL and 90 percent in Malcoal with partner Consolidated Mining Limited holding a 10 percent free carried interest.

The company also has all management and operating rights under the joint venture agreement.

And according to Warrand, North Rukuru contains Karoo sediments that overlie Precambrian basement rocks in a series of half-grabens.

“The main coal bearing sediments occur within the Karoo K2-K3 formation and yield sub-bituminous to bituminous coals with a Calorific Value of 5,500 to 6,500 kcals/kg, an Ash content between 18 and 26 percent and a low Sulphur content of 0.3 percent,” explained Warrand.

He said the extent of the Karoo formation in the area is controlled by the gneissic basement in the west and a major fault in the east with regional dips ranging between 10° and 18° to the east.

The executive director also revealed that its recent geological mapping within the lease confirms the presence of numerous coal seams with good quality thermal properties.

Coal at Ngana lease, covering a significant part of the Ngana Coalfield which is a southern extension of the Songwe-Kiwira Coalfield, is hosted within a 12m to 20m thick sedimentary sequence.

The coal there, according to Warrand, is typically sub-bituminous to bituminous with a Calorific Value of 5,500 to 5,950 kcals/kg and an Ash content between 23 and 27 percent.

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