Japan Eyes Mozambique for Cheaper Coal, Gas

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MAPUTO — Japan signed a memorandum of understanding with resource-rich Mozambique on Monday as it ramps up its hunt for new sources of energy after it shuttered all but two of its nuclear reactors.

The deal will allow Japan, still scarred by the melt-down at the Fukushima nuclear plant last year, to tap the African country’s natural resources.

Japan hopes Mozambique’s vast coal and natural gas reserves can become a source of cheaper fuel, allowing it to break its reliance on suppliers in Australia and Qatar.

“Mozambique could be one of the most important suppliers of mineral resources for our country,” said visiting State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Isao Matsumiya in Maputo.

The Asian country gets over 60 percent of its thermal coal and 20 percent of its natural gas from Australia. It hopes to secure a steady supply of both from Mozambique, at lower cost.

“Diversification is something we have to think of,” Toshihiko Fujii, an official with Japan’s trade and industry ministry, told AFP.

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© 2013 Energy Tribune

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