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August 09, 2010

Mozambique to get 19 million dollar biofuels project

Mozambique's state fuel company has partnered with the private sector to invest 19 million dollars (14 million euros) in biofuel production, state media reported on August 9.

National supplier Petromoc, Portuguese fuel company Galp and biodiesel producer Ecomoz will produce biodiesel in the northern Manica province from jatropha curcas plantations, Noticias newspaper reported.

A minimum of 10,000 hectares will be cultivated at first, with possible expansion to 50,000 hectares later, the paper reported.

Jatropha is drought-resistant, grows quickly and its non-edible seeds are crushed for oil.

Recent fuel price hikes and the declining value of the Mozambican currency have forced the government to look for fuel alternatives, which also include natural gas.

The southern African country was paralysed in 2008 by fuel price riots that saw police open fire on protesters, killing three.

Fuel suppliers went on strike in 2009 when the government announced it would not pay subsidies anymore. Fuel subsidies have been reduced gradually over the past few months.


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