Timing "tough" for $4.5 bln Thai-Mozambique coal rail-port project
* Moatize-Macuse railway plan developed by Bangkok-based IDT
* President says 2018 target for completion of rail line
* But project timing difficult due to low world coal prices
* Mozambique coal ambitions face setback in depressed market
By Pascal Fletcher
MAPUTO, July 22 (Reuters) - A Thai-Mozambican consortium has set a 2018 target to commission a $4.5 billion coal export railway and port terminal project in central Mozambique, but the depressed global coal prices outlook made the timing "tough", the company's president said.
Late last year, Mozambique's government picked Bangkok-based contractor Italian-Thai Development Pcl to construct the 537 km rail line from the Moatize coal mines in Tete province to Macuse on the coast in Zambezia province.
The project forms part of ambitious plans made by Mozambique with foreign investment partners to become a major exporter of metallurgical and thermal coal to the global market, based on estimated reserves of at least 2 billion tonnes. These are the world's fourth-largest untapped recoverable coal reserves.
Companies like Vale of Brazil and Rio Tinto have invested billions of dollars, helping Mozambique launch in 2011 as a coal producer and exporter. Continuación...