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September 14, 2008

Investment fund to raise $15 million for Mozambique sugarcane biofuel plant

BioEnergy Africa Ltd., based in Tortola, one of the British Virgin Islands, has raised £8.6 million (approximately $15.2 million) in capital through the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market to fund development of a 438 million liters per year (116 MMgy) sugarcane ethanol plant in Massingir District, Gaza province, Mozambique.

According to the company, ground has been cleared for the Massingir Fuel Ethanol Project and a water supply has been secured from the Massingir Dam. The company is in discussions with Netafim of Tel Aviv, Israel, to design, procure, and install a subsurface drip irrigation system for the project’s cane fields. At full capacity, the project will include 24,500 hectares (approximately 60,500 acres) of planted sugarcane. Once operational, the project is expected to employ up to 800 full-time employees, as well as 6,500 seasonal workers.

BioEnergy Africa said it’s in discussions with Dedini S/A Indústrias de Base of Brazil to supply a turnkey ethanol plant for the project. The company is considering a modular plant that initially will run at 50 percent of nameplate capacity by the end of 2011 and at full capacity sometime in 2012 or 2013. It is considering a dual-function plant that can produce sugar and ethanol, as well as a cellulosic processing module to produce ethanol from the bagasse byproduct. Bagasse will also be used to fire boilers to produce electricity. Ethanol will be transported to Maputo, Mozambique, where the country’s main port and rail links are located and where a bulk liquid terminal is under construction. The company is investigating construction and operation of a 40-kilometer (approximately 25 miles) rail spur from the main line to the ethanol plant.

According to Phil Edmonds, chairman for BioEnergy Africa, the company is investigating additional sugarcane ethanol opportunities in southern Africa. According to the company, Africa’s premier sugar growing region is eastern and northeast South Africa, southeast Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and southern and central Mozambique. Five of the top eight cheapest sugar producers in the world are in southern Africa.

On Aug. 12, BioEnergy Africa acquired a 94 percent share of ProCana Limitada of Mozambique, which has an investment agreement with the government of Mozambique to develop the sugarcane ethanol project in Massingir District.

Ethanol Producer

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