Maputo, Mozambique — MININGREVIEW.COM — 05 October 2009 – The government of Mozambique has announced that it is planning to build a US$500 million (R4 billion) railway line by 2015 for the purpose of shipping coal from its Moatize mines to the deepwater port of Nacala.
Transport and communications minister Paulo Zucula said the new railway line, which might cut through the southern part of Malawi, would help establish a new link to the northern port of Nacala, which was seen as an optimum location from which to ship coal.
“This is a viable venture, and we will do it either via Malawi or inside Mozambique. Our estimate is that this project will cost not less than half a billion dollars,” Zucula told Reuters in an interview. “We want this line to be ready by 2015 because by that time we will have reached the peak of coal production in Moatize.”
Mozambique wants to become a regional trans-shipment route, and plans to invest US$150 million (R1.2 billion) to upgrade its port, rail and roads infrastructure in the Nacala Development Corridor in the next five years.
The southern African country wants to serve as an alternative to the highly congested ports of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya, and Zucula said that landlocked neighbouring country Malawi would use the railway line as its route into world markets. “Malawi will also use this line to transport its fertilizer, grain, sugar and cement and we have invited the private sector to participate,” Zucula said.
Mozambique’s ports and railways are slowly recovering from a lack of maintenance programmes as a result of years of civil war. Its three major ports include the Maputo, Beira and Nacala corridors, strategically important to Mozambique’s neighbours, especially landlocked Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.