Fifty containers of manganese transported in 25 rail cars will start travelling between the Kisenge mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the port of Lobito in Angola on a weekly basis under an agreement reached in 2017 between the Caminho de Ferro de Benguela (CFB) and the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC).
The announcement was made by the chairman of the CFB’s Board of Directors, Luís Teixeira, who said that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has expressed its intention to boost the operation with another 50 rail cars, which means, five trains per week in the future.
Teixeira also announced contacts with businessmen from the DRC who are exploring the Coloese mines and, therefore, the transportation of copper ore to the port of Lobito for export will begin within six months.
The resumption of the shipment of minerals by this railway line, at a standstill since the civil war in Angola, was made possible after the Angolan government contracted the China Railway 20 Bureau Group Co (CR20) group to design the project and carry out the physical reconstruction of the line and the 67 stations, in addition to supplying rolling stock, for an investment valued at US$1.83 billion.
Entreprise Minière of Kisenge Manganese, which sent about 1,000 tons of manganese in this first shipment, has been increasing production at the Kisenge mine, with a stored amount of 540,000 tons of manganese carbonate, according to the Mining Atlas website.
In 2015, a ceremony in Luau, where the “historic day” of the return of the train was highlighted, as well as then Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, was also attended by the Heads of State of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, and Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
For the two countries, which border Angola in this region, the rebuilt rail link is a way to export – via the CFB and the port of Lobito – the minerals extracted in the Katanga (DR Congo) and Copperbelt (Zambia) regions by sea, with the future interconnection of the three rail networks. (macauhub)