Botswana Iron Project Says Railway Vital For Shipments

Tsodilo Resources Limited, the Canadian company that is developing the Xaudum Iron Formation project in Botswana, close to the borders with Namibia and Angola is optimistic that the proposed Trans-Zambezi Railway Extension Grootfontein-Rundu-Katima Mulilo railway will be important for the rail shipment of iron products to Walvis Bay.

Chairman and Chief Executive, James Bruchs has disclosed that the other option for shipments would be to ship its exports via ports in Angola. This will be shipping through Mucusso, near the Caprivi Strip, to Namibe Port or on the road from Mohembo and Shakawe, via Divindu in Namibia to Mucusso. The other option will be on the new leg of the railway from Huambo to Mucusso. He notes that Xaudum and other large-scale mining projects will railway network upgrades in the region.

He adds that the Mosetse-Kazungula rail line needs to be upgraded to transport, soda ash, salt, copper, agricultural products and supplies, fuel and cement. The Mmamabula-Lephalale will have to be upgraded to carry, coal, containers, soda ash and salt. Bruchs said the proposed Trans Kalahari railway will have the potential to transport iron ore and products, containers, coal, fuel, copper and beef.

Botswana Iron Project Says Railway Vital For Shipments
MAP credit: Tsodilo Resources Limited

Xaudum has an exploration target of 5 to 7 billion tonnes with a life of mine of about 75 years. The project is located in North West Botswana and lies some 35 km from the town of Divundu in Namibia. He is happy that the proposed rail extension between Grootfontein and Katima Mulilo is significant to Tsodilo as it is planned to pass through Divundu.

In a move to better understand the transport and logistics in the region, Bruchs said Tsodilo has become part of Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG). The WBCG promotes the usage of the Namibian ports of Port of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz by Namibia’s landlocked neighbours.

He added that the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor, which connects Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with links to Angola, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania will be an important shipment route. Bruchs explained that the portion of the corridor between Grootfontein to Katima Mulilo located on the Zambia border is the portion of the corridor to the Xaudum project and is currently connected by a grade A bitumen highway used for the transportation of goods and services.

In September last year, the Namibian government approved the final feasibility study for the Trans Zambezi Railway Extension Grootfontein-Rundu-Katima Mulilo. The extension of the Grootfontein-Katima Mulilo will connect Namibia, Zambia and Botswana, through Ngoma up to Kasane, and link up with Zimbabwe and Zambia, up to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The cross-border rail project aims to link new mines and mining activities to the railway network along the Walvis Bay – Ndola – Lubumbashi Development Corridor to enable the transportation of minerals from the Copperbelt to Walvis Bay.

Further, Bruchs adds that the rail extension is an important development for Tsodilo as it opens up a proximate rail transportation system for the delivery of its Xaudum Iron Formation project’s potential iron products throughout central, eastern and southern Africa as well as international markets.


By: Written by Chamwe Kaira for Railways Africa Magazine

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