Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries but the discovery of gas reserves off its coast could change that. The FT’s Andrew England looks at the preparations for a commodities boom and what impact upcoming elections could have on investor sentiment.

Following Nigeria's example?

The International Monetary Fund’s “Africa Rising” conference opened in Maputo with gushing descriptions about the “potential” and “opportunity” of the fast growing continent.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde, the guest of honour, told the gathering of politicians, aid workers and business types that “we are witnessing a moment of transformation in Africa.” Former US President Bill Clinton joined in via video to talk of Africa’s “remarkable economic progress.”

Yet intertwined with the unabashed bullishness were warnings about the potential potholes that line the road ahead, especially for those nations endowed with rich reserves of the natural resources that have been driving much of the continent’s heady growth. Read more

Overseas companies with operations in Mozambique are concerned with the escalation of political tension in the country, after the former rebel group Renamo said it was ending a peace accord. The move has also triggered warnings from neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe that violence could disrupt regional trade.

Although we’re a long way from a descent into civil war, with local elections coming up in November, and presidential and parliamentary elections next year, incidents such as those in the last few weeks will not be taken lightly by the business community or countries with strong economic ties. Read more

Mozambique has joined the debt spree in sub-Saharan Africa with a state-backed agency tapping investors’ appetite for high yields and frontier markets with the country’s first ever US dollar-denominated bond. Read more

After gruesome 16-year-long civil war, Mozambique has got on with the arduous task of rebuilding the country.

The African state is now open for business, helped by political stability. It’s rich mineral resources have been a draw card for leading global miners. But big hurdles remain, especially the lack of infrastructure which has been a huge stumbling block for miners. And despite the government’s attempts at addressing the problem, it is still affecting business operations. Just ask Rio Tino, and Brazil’s Vale. Read more

Anglo American may have passed on this one, but Nippon are up for it. Japan’s largest steel company, Nippon Steel and Suminato Metal Corp, was given the go-ahead on Thursday to develop the Revuboè coal project in Mozambique’s Tete province. It now hopes to begin production by 2016, nestled in among other major extractors in one of the world’s most important new mining regions.

The announcement comes little over a week after the London-listed mining giant, Anglo American, said it had dropped plans to acquire a $555m majority stake in the Revuboè venture, which is situated adjacent to Vale’s Moatize mine and Rio Tinto’s Zambezi and Benga mines. Read more

Mozambique’s hopes of becoming one of the world’s biggest coal producers seem as distant as ever, with fresh reports of the same old problems emerging. Poor transport infrastructure is hitting the operations of multinationals, who have again been grumbling about the problem – which unfortunately doesn’t look like it will be fixed any time soon. Read more

Mozambique is one of the much-sought after ‘M3’ emerging markets trio, along with Myanmar and Mongolia, with major offshore gas finds as well as large mineral deposits.

But mining is not as simple as setting a digger to work. While the country has around 23bn tonnes of coal, the infrastructure needed to support the extraction is starting from scratch. Any company that underestimates the costs can come unstuck, as Thursday’s resignation of Rio Tinto boss Tom Albanese showsRead more

How much money can you lose up the Zambezi? Quite a lot if you are Rio Tinto.

The miner’s shares fell nearly 3 per cent early on Thursday after it announced a $14bn writedown and the departure of chief executive Tom Albanese and of Doug Ritchie, the man in charge of the group’s ill-fated Mozambique coal venture.

A spectacular example of the risks in mining – and the dangers of operating in emerging markets as the company disclosed that it never received formal approval for a key element of the Mozambique project – transporting coal on the Zambezi. Read more

Mozambique’s substantial offshore gas reserves moved a step closer to full development on Friday with the announcement of a heads of agreement between the Italian energy company Eni and the Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum to jointly construct an onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at an estimated cost of more than $10bn. Read more

Independent and small-scale oil companies like to be quick on their feet, beating the energy giants time and again in the exploration race. But in some of Africa’s more promising energy areas, regulatory hurdles and resource nationalism are starting to hold things up. Read more

Sub-Saharan Africa’s local bond markets are for the most part small and rudimentary and lack transparency. In some cases even yields are difficult to find. But many have made significant progress in recent years, potentially offering succour to companies starved of institutional funding.

These markets – where the debt securities are priced in Nigerian naira, Kenyan shillings, Zambian kwacha or Botswana pula, as opposed to US dollars – are mostly dominated by government bonds. For companies the cost is often high and the process arduous. But several markets now boast an array of corporate bonds – and more are on the way. Read more

In a sign of Mozambique’s emergence as a middle-market tourism destination, Britain’s benchmark over-50s package holiday organiser, Saga, is to run tours in the country next year.

It’s a positive development for an industry the government wants to develop as a major foreign exchange earner, but Mozambique has a way to go before it starts squeezing as much money from its visitors as its regional rivals. Read more

Mozambique’s are the gas fields that just keep giving. Eni, the Italian state-controlled energy group, said on Wednesday it had made a significant find of gas in the Mamba offshore exploration block – an extra 10tn cubic feet to its previous finds.

The discovery confirms Mozambique as one of the key areas for LNG in Africa and one of the most exciting prospects for the world’s major energy companies. Read more

After a bidding war that has gone on almost all year, Shell has on Monday stepped out of the bidding war for Cove Energy. Which means the winner of the battle for the London-listed company is PTT of Thailand. The market was expecting a showdown, with shares opening on Monday at 278 pence, but as soon as Shell threw in the towel, they plunged and closed 14 per cent down at PTT’s offer price. Read more

Shell, over to you.

The bidding war for London-listed energy company Cove took another turn on Wednesday. PTT Exploration & Production, Thailand’s biggest oil explorer, raised its offer to 240p per share, or £1.22bn ($1.92bn), trumping Shell’s previous bid of 220p. Read more

Cove Energy, the London-listed explorer that is on Royal Dutch Shell’s radar and attracting interest from Asia, may have just got a bit pricier.

The company announced on Tuesday that, together with operator Anadarko Petroleum, it has discovered a new natural gas field off Mozambique – a substantial find. So where does that leave the bidding? Read more

Three months after it put itself up for sale, Cove Energy – the UK listed company with interests in Mozambique’s huge natural gas fields – said on Tuesday it had accepted a bid from Royal Dutch Shell of 220p a share, valuing the company at £1.12bn ($1.94bn).

In a joint statement, the companies said: “The formal sale process has now been concluded.” But they added: “Other potential offerors can still nonetheless announce competing offers for Cove.” Will PTT Exploration, the state-controlled Thai energy group which had already offered 220p a share, rise to the bait? Read more

Mozambique is attracting the interest of foreign investors with its potentially huge coal and gas riches – which has sparked a debate in the country about whether the impoverished nation will get its fair share of the resource cake.

But does the government have the capacity and experience to negotiate with savvy multinationals? And should Mozambique be looking at the existing contracts with overseas companies? Read more

The price tag on Cove Energy, the UK-listed oil and gas company that has a stake in Mozambique’s biggest gas field, just went up.

Cove, which has at least three potential buyers banging on its doors, said on Wednesday that it was “delighted” to confirm a big increase in proven reserves in Mozambique’s Rovuma offshore gas basin, where it has an 8.5 per cent stake.

Shareholders will be even more delighted if the bidders start raising their offers. With bids of $1.7bn bid, from Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production, and $1.6bn from Royal Dutch Shell, and an expression of interest from India’s state-run resources companies, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and GAIL India,  the auction is well under way.  Read more