Maputo - Mozambique, preparing to supply coking coal for Japan's steel industry, will ask the Japanese government for up to $300m to fund repairs of its cyclone-damaged Nacala export port, a government official said on Tuesday.
The repairs could start as early as 2013 if the talks are successful, Danilo Nala, director of Mozambique's Special Economic Zones Office, told Reuters.
"We are now going to start negotiations for investment with the Japanese government, and if we succeed, the rehabilitation could start within one year," he said.
Some of the funding could also come from Japan's private sector, he said.
Repairing the port, which was damaged by a cyclone in 2001, would return it to its original capacity of 400 000 containers a year, or roughly double its current capacity, Nala said.
Mozambique is pushing to build more infrastructure to support the rapid rise in coal production in its Tete province.
It is seen as a new supply source for coking coal, and has attracted global miners such as Vale and steel makers such as Nippon Steel.
Nippon Steel, the world's No.4 steel maker, has said it expects to start producing coking coal in Mozambique in 2014, with development of the site expected to begin in the first half of 2012.