Cape Town, South Africa — 05 June 2012 – South African diversified miner Exxaro is to upgrade a railway line in the Republic of Congo to transport at least 10Mtpa by 2016 as it moves to exploit its recently acquired Mayoko iron ore project in that country.
The French-built railway, constructed in 1931, currently has a capacity of some 5Mtpa, but needs to be repaired and upgraded in certain sections, Exxaro executive general manager for business development Ernst Venter told Reuters on the sidelines of an African iron ore conference.
Exxaro, which bought Mayoko from African Iron, is also mulling building a new harbour and a power plant at the mine, which has an upside potential of 2.5 billion tonnes of iron ore, he added.
“The decision will probably be to look at Indienne to establish a port which can at least handle this 10Mtpa,” he continued.
The small town of Indienne lies north of a deep-water port at Pointe Noire on the Atlantic coast.
Venter said Exxaro would probably opt for Indienne as a location as it might be too difficult to convert Pointe Noire, used mainly as a container port, into a bulk iron ore exporting terminal.
Exxaro plans to start production at Mayoko in 2013, producing between 200,000 and 2Mt of iron ore per year, Venter revealed.
Venter said Exxaro, one of South Africa’s largest coal exporters, may build a power plant at Mayoko through its Cennergi joint venture with Tata Power, but would need to sign off-take deals with other customers for at least 100 megawatts to make the project economically viable.
“It needs to supply power to the mine but we need a few big anchor customers," Venter explained.
Source: Reuters Africa. For more information, click here.