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Study on RBCT expansion ready this year

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at Saldanha
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 September 2010 – South African logistics group Transnet says that it expects to complete a feasibility study on the expansion of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT), and the development of another port for iron ore exports, before the end of this year.

Reuters reports that South Africa is a major exporter of coal to power stations in Europe and Asia, but that coal exporters have criticised Transnet in the past for its failure to transport enough coal to the terminal due to bottlenecks on the rail line.

Transnet director for planning (ports) David Stromberg has reiterated that private sector participation in expanding infrastructure would be needed as South Africa exports of coal and iron ore continue to rise.

“We are currently doing a study which should be finished towards the end of this year,” he told a ferroalloys conference in Johannesburg. “Our future plan for Richards Bay is to expand the terminal beyond 81 million tonnes for coal,” Stromberg said.

Transnet has been investing heavily in new and improved infrastructure, but is still far from meeting the expanded RBCT annual capacity of 91 million tonnes.

South Africa exported 61 million tonnes of coal last year, and Transnet said it could ship up to 65 million tonnes this year, despite a three-week strike that crippled ports and railways in May.

Stromberg went on to say that Transnet would increase capacity for iron ore exports at Saldanha port to 80 million tonnes a year, and was also studying ways to build a 12 million tonne per year manganese terminal.

Transnet is currently expanding the capacity on its iron ore line to 60 million tonnes from the current 44.7 million tonnes.