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Mozambique Rejects United Nations Call to Abandon Coal

( Breitbart )

Mozambique’s energy ministry recently said it will not comply with a United Nations (U.N.) campaign seeking to pressure countries worldwide to abandon their coal industries for supposedly “cleaner” energy options, the state-run Mozambique News Agency (AIM) reported on Wednesday.

“A lot is said about abandoning coal. But right now, coal is the major contributor to the balance of payments and in second place we have heavy mineral sands. So, we cannot abandon these sources from one day to the next, because the necessary conditions must be in place for us to do this,” Mozambique’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, Teodoro Vales, said during a public seminar on April 28, according to AIM’s May 4 report.

Vales made the remarks during a seminar on “the challenges and opportunities for promoting an inclusive energy transition in Mozambique” organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD). The CDD is a British-founded Nigerian think tank.

Vales referenced a specific campaign by the U.N., which aims to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions “by 45 per cent by 2030 from 2010 levels, and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.” The international governing body held a “High-level Dialogue on Energy” in September 2021 to support this campaign, during which the U.N. said it urged countries,

including Mozambique, to “radically change” the way they produce and consume energy. In Mozambique’s case, the U.N.’s call would necessitate an abandonment of coal, which “remains a major Mozambican export, and thus makes a crucial contribution to the balance of payments and as a source of foreign currency,” the state-run AIM news agency noted on May 4.

Mozambique is home to the Benga Coal Mine, which contains one of the largest coal reserves both within Africa and globally. Benga Coal Mine is owned by International Coal Ventures Limited (ICVL), which is “a consortium 65 percent owned by Indian government-owned companies and 35 percent owned by Tata Steel, a subsidiary of Tata Group, in Tete Province, Mozambique,” according to the Global Energy Monitor. Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate and one of India’s most profitable companies.

Benga Coal mine closed in 2018 and then later restarted production. The mine’s restart, together with an associated expansion project, was paused, however, when a related power plant project was canceled, according to the Global Energy Monitor. The website observed that “[a]s of 2022, those plans appear shelved.”

AIM reported on May 4 that Mozambique’s government recently expressed interest in exploring alternative energy sources in addition to coal.

“[M]itigation actions are underway to develop non-polluting energy generation. Among these systems are renewable energies including hydroelectric power but also less polluting fuels such as natural gas,” the news agency quoted Vales as saying on April 28.

“The government … has set an ambitious target of producing an extra 600 megawatts of power by 2024, of which 400 MW will be generated by gas-fired power stations with 200 MW from solar, wind, and hydro-electric power,” Vales added.

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