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Palabora using alternative export routes

Two smelter employees
opening the tap hole
of the reverb furnace
at Palabora
Phalaborwa, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 October 2010 – Palabora Mining Company “’ the South African copper-producing unit of the Rio Tinto Group “’ says it has been compelled to use alternative rail routes to export magnetite and vermiculite to the ports of Richards Bay and Maputo.

A statement issued here said that this development followed the destruction last month of a bridge on the branch rail line between Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit in the Limpopo province.

The rail line is the link between the Palabora mining operations and the ports of Richards Bay and Maputo, and Palabora warned that the incident “’ caused by the derailment of a fully loaded Transnet train “’ would hamper its exports and have an impact on sales revenue.

According to Transnet, the preliminary assessment indicated that the bridge was likely to be out of service for at least six to eight weeks.

Palabora said that with the assistance of Transnet, it had inspected alternative stations and railway sidings in order to by-pass the damaged bridge and continue transportation of its materials to the ports.

The parties have agreed that Palabora would make use of the Gravelot station for the loading of magnetite for shipment to Maputo port, and would also use the Hoedspruit station for the loading of all vermiculite that was in bulk and in containers.

Magnetite and phosphate would be transported by road to these sidings at a rate of up to 350 trucks per day, the company added.