According to an Engineering News report, a 700km extension of Namibia’s Grootfontein branch is planned, to Katima Mulilo 0n the Zambian border.  A feasibility study should be complete by March 2008. Johnny Smith, business development executive for the Walvis Bay Corridor Group, is quoted saying: “Our focus is on trade facilitation through a cheaper and faster route. We are targeting the copper mines in Zambia, which are moving a lot of heavy mining equipment and also importers of agricultural
equipment and cars.”

[ Katima Mulilo is about 130km from the nearest railway in Zambia as the crow flies, once the Zambesi has been bridged. The line in question is the lightly laid Mulobezi branch from Livingstone, a further 80km or so. The reality – a further new line of about 200km would be needed before the Grootfontein extension could become a possible (not necessarily realistic) alternative for copper transport to the sea. – editor

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