Iron ore train on
the heavy haul Sishen
Saldanha line in
South Africa
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 20 August 2008 – Transnet – a focused freight transport and logistics operation comprising South Africa’s ports, rail and pipeline assets – plans to boost capacity on the country’s main iron ore export line to 47 million tonnes a year by 2010/11.
 
Chief Executive Maria Ramos told Reuters that Transnet – which recently signed agreements with top iron ore producer Kumba Iron Ore, as well as Assmang – intended injecting an additional R6 billion to ramp up its capacity to 60 million tonnes per annum by 2012.

She added that a feasibility study to further  increase capacity to 90 million tonnes  per annum was expected by March next year, as Africa’s biggest producer of the steel making ingredient, Kumba, increased its production to meet surging demand from China.

"We are very much on track to get to 47 million tonnes by 2010/2011," Ramos continued, “and we are looking at the 60 million tonnes coming on line by 2012 – that’s the projection."

Reuters reports that Transnet has set aside R4 billion over the next five years to upgrade the port of Saldanha and the Sishen-Saldanha iron ore line – the country’s main iron ore export line from the Northern Cape province to foreign markets.

Ramos said next year’s feasibility study for the 90 million tonnes capacity plan would determine its cost, as inadequate infrastructure and export capacity would curtail iron ore producers from cashing in on a global commodities boom. “As for the 60 million tonnes plan, that would cost close to R6 billion,” she estimated.

Kumba has revealed that its new Sishen South mine will produce about 9 million tonnes a year by 2013, helping push Kumba’s total output past the 50 million tonne mark. The company believes it could boost output to 70 million tonnes by 2015, which would make it the world’s fourth-largest producer of lump iron ore.