CAMEROON’S MBALAM MINE RAILWAY

Sundance Resources Ltd have continued resource definition and feasibility studies on the Mbalam iron ore project in Cameroon. Work focused on drilling of the Mbarga deposit, including commissioning of four additional drill rigs on site; initial resource modelling of the deposit; completion of a scoping study on beneficiation options for itabirite mineralisation; continuation of studies on project infrastructure, including rail and port site surveys; and negotiations with the Cameroon government on proposed development terms for the project.

Rail route planning identified a preferred rail alignment from the mine at Mbalam to the proposed port site.  This route was selected after optimisation of capital and operating costs, and socio-environmental issues. The route avoids all population centres and conservation reserves.

The route optimisation work was undertaken using satellite topographic mapping data. This has been supplemented by detailed mapping from airborne laser radar (LIDAR) survey data, which provides high resolution aerial imagery over the preferred rail alignment. This data is to be used to progress detailed rail planning work and to refine costings.

General arrangements have been developed for the proposed export jetty site near Kribi, about 140km south of Cameroon’s main port Douala. Current design is based on an open water jetty with a dredged berth depth of 22m (chart datum). Bathymetric and seismic reflection/refraction studies were completed in the March quarter to confirm water depths and sub-surface ground conditions at the preferred port site. Detailed planning and design work is to be finalised on the basis of this new survey data.

Investigative studies are also looking at the possibility and implications of building a slurry pipeline as an alternative to the proposed railway. The same general route would be followed but the pipeline “offers considerably more flexibility in route selection.”

[ The existing metre-gauge line in Cameroon is unlikely to influence planning of the new mine railway, with which there will be no physical connection. It seems likely that 1,435mm gauge will be used. – editor

10 Responses to “CAMEROON’S MBALAM MINE RAILWAY”

  1. Shall Ford June 7, 2009 at 02:55 #

    The May 2009 Annual Report of the Sundance mining company repeats the statement that a choice has still to be made between building a railway and a slurry pipeline.

    Since the state is or will be a big shareholder in the mining company, it makes sense to choose the option which will be more efficient and profitable, and pays bigger dividends.

    On the other hand, a pipeline cannot carry other cargoes such as other minerals or say timber.

    • Shall Ford July 26, 2009 at 01:46 #

      In an Investor Presentation dated 29 April 2009, the Sundance iron ore mining company shows a map of the mine to port transport corridor, and quotes a cost of $1423m for a rail link. There is no mention (in as many words) of a slurry pipeline.

      While the company should be allowed to choose the most efficient transport mode, it has to be said that from the point of view of national development, a railway is more flexible and can carry other goods such as timber, while a slurry pipeline cannot.

      Mention should also be made of older plans for a timber hauling railway roughly along the alignment of the Mbalam Iron Ore railway.

  2. Shall Ford June 7, 2009 at 02:55 #

    The May 2009 Annual Report of the Sundance mining company repeats the statement that a choice has still to be made between building a railway and a slurry pipeline.

    Since the state is or will be a big shareholder in the mining company, it makes sense to choose the option which will be more efficient and profitable, and pays bigger dividends.

    On the other hand, a pipeline cannot carry other cargoes such as other minerals or say timber.

    • Shall Ford July 26, 2009 at 01:46 #

      In an Investor Presentation dated 29 April 2009, the Sundance iron ore mining company shows a map of the mine to port transport corridor, and quotes a cost of $1423m for a rail link. There is no mention (in as many words) of a slurry pipeline.

      While the company should be allowed to choose the most efficient transport mode, it has to be said that from the point of view of national development, a railway is more flexible and can carry other goods such as timber, while a slurry pipeline cannot.

      Mention should also be made of older plans for a timber hauling railway roughly along the alignment of the Mbalam Iron Ore railway.

  3. Shall Ford June 7, 2009 at 04:55 #

    The May 2009 Annual Report of the Sundance mining company repeats the statement that a choice has still to be made between building a railway and a slurry pipeline.

    Since the state is or will be a big shareholder in the mining company, it makes sense to choose the option which will be more efficient and profitable, and pays bigger dividends.

    On the other hand, a pipeline cannot carry other cargoes such as other minerals or say timber.

    • Shall Ford July 26, 2009 at 03:46 #

      In an Investor Presentation dated 29 April 2009, the Sundance iron ore mining company shows a map of the mine to port transport corridor, and quotes a cost of $1423m for a rail link. There is no mention (in as many words) of a slurry pipeline.

      While the company should be allowed to choose the most efficient transport mode, it has to be said that from the point of view of national development, a railway is more flexible and can carry other goods such as timber, while a slurry pipeline cannot.

      Mention should also be made of older plans for a timber hauling railway roughly along the alignment of the Mbalam Iron Ore railway.

  4. Michael Westcott August 21, 2009 at 13:55 #

    If Sundance are looking to export 50 million tonnes or more from Mbarga area and The Congo. Would they not need a double tracked rail system?

    To carry 50 million tonnes per year they will need six sets of engines with 100 wagon for each set of engines.That will be 135,000 tonnes per day X 365 days per year.
    This rail system is expected to carry iron ore from Mbalam,I think African Aura will look to use the rail line to get its iron ore to port,plus other mines I think will look to use the rail line to get their resources to port.Timber,passengers,other cargo from Cameroon to port and from Cameroon to The Congo and Gabon and back to port.

    Has any work started on the iron ore port or the railway system?

    Who is likely to fund these projects and the mine at Mbarga?

    Regards
    Michael Westcott
    Australia.

  5. Murali McML October 31, 2009 at 07:13 #

    I agree with Mr.Michael Westcott about the double track requirement. The railway will be a dedicated corridor. The mines adjacent to Mbarga & Congo can start exploration and use the new railway for transportation. Passing loops with 4kms of CSR length is required.

  6. Murali McML October 31, 2009 at 07:13 #

    I agree with Mr.Michael Westcott about the double track requirement. The railway will be a dedicated corridor. The mines adjacent to Mbarga & Congo can start exploration and use the new railway for transportation. Passing loops with 4kms of CSR length is required.

  7. Murali McML October 31, 2009 at 09:13 #

    I agree with Mr.Michael Westcott about the double track requirement. The railway will be a dedicated corridor. The mines adjacent to Mbarga & Congo can start exploration and use the new railway for transportation. Passing loops with 4kms of CSR length is required.

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