Moatize – Nacala railway ready next year

The new railway line linking the Moatize coal basin in western Mozambique with the northern port at Nacala-a-Velha could be ready by September 2014.

The Brazilian mining giant Vale is the main investor in upgrading and constructing the 912-kilometre railway. The other partners are Mozambique’s port and rail company CFM, and the Nacala Development Corridor (CDN).

According to the Sunday newspaper “Domingo”, a source inside Vale has stated that all the necessary contracts have been signed for the supply of materials for the construction work.

The source told the newspaper that preparations are underway for clearing the route, undertaking earthworks, and mobilising equipment. All the sleepers will be manufactured in Mozambique and a quarry in Cuamba will provide ballast.

The route passes through neighbouring Malawi, where a new railway covering 136 kilometres between the western border and Nyaka is in an advanced stage of construction. This is a complex project as it crosses rugged terrain and involves the building of twenty bridges and two viaducts. Another 99 kilometres of existing line will be upgraded to complete the section.

The source stated that the earthworks will be completed in Malawi by the end of this year and the rail track will begin to be laid in January. This will make it possible to test the line in September 2014.

All the coal producers in Tete province will have access to the rail route. This was one of the conditions insisted upon by the Mozambican government.

The line will be able to transport over 11 million tonnes of coal a year by the end of 2015, rising to 13 million tonnes in 2016 and 18 million tonnes in 2017.

The route is being built because the Sena railway line from the coal basin to the port of Beira cannot cope with demand. Even with a proposed upgrade in 2014, it will only have a capacity to move 12 million tonnes of coal per annum.

The deep water port at Nacala-a-Velha is currently under construction and will be able to handle 18 million tonnes of coal per year.

Post published in: Africa News

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