Mozambique stumbles on existence of gas and coal deposits
by Takunda Maodza
Mozambican authorities have stumbled on the existence of natural gas and coal deposits in Manicaland Province. Manicaland already boasts huge deposits of alluvial diamonds in Marange. The discovery of natural gas and coal could see the province becoming one of the richest in terms of minerals.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Gift Chimanikire confirmed recently that Mozambicans discovered natural gas on their side of the border (Manica) that they said was flowing into Zimbabwe's Manicaland Province.
They also discovered coal in Tete Province whose deposits they claim run into Zimbabwe.
Deputy Minister Chimanikire got the information from Mozambique's Ministry of Mines during an official visit. During their exploration works, the Mozambicans hinted on the existence of coal in Manicaland and discovered diamonds in Manica Province. Manica Province shares the border with Manicaland in the east.
Forty % of the country is yet to be explored and the discovery of precious minerals has at times been out of sheer luck. There are, however, plans by Government to carry out extensive exploration work in the country.
"There are plans by Government to carry out an aero magnetic survey. It was initially done in the 1980s but was stopped as a result of a civil war in Mozambique. We floated a tender that flopped because of irregularities," Deputy Minister Chimanikire said.
He added: "We are going to form a joint venture between Government and the private sector to carry out the survey and the exploration company will soon go on the ground. A tender will be floated soon."
Deputy Minister Chimanikire said investors especially those from South Africa have shown a lot of interest in carrying out the aeromagnetic survey. An aeromagnetic survey is a common type of geophysical survey carried out using a magnetometer aboard or towed behind an aircraft.
It is similar to a magnetic survey carried out with a hand-held magnetometer but an aeromagnetic allows much larger areas of the earth's surface to be covered quickly. Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting primarily of methane. It is widely used as an important source of energy and can generate electricity.
Natural gas is found in deep underground natural rock formations. Oil is also another resource found near and with natural gas. Zimbabwe also boasts rich coal-bed methane gas reserves in Lupane, Matabeleland North Province.
While no investments have been made as yet in Lupane, Botswana has already started benefiting from the shared resource. The country is believed to have the largest reserves of methane gas in sub-Saharan Africa.