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North Congo-Ntam-Port Of Kribi Railway Line Construction Project North Congo-Ntam-Port Of Kribi Railway Line Construction Project

Cameroon entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with Bestway Finance Ltd and Austsino Resources Group Ltd in 2021, to build a 540 km railway line connecting the iron ore site at Mbalam to the multimodal ore port at Kribi. The port, with a capacity of over 100 million tonnes per year, is currently under construction. The project will entail constructing a double-track railway spanning 640 km, linking the north of the Republic of Congo to the port of Kribi in Cameroon.

Once completed, the railway line will transport iron ore extracted from the mines of Avima, Badondo, and Nabeba in the Republic of Congo, with a total annual capacity of over 100 million tons of iron ore. The construction of the railway line is expected to spur Cameroon’s development and serve as a catalyst for reviving the Mbalam iron ore project in the East Cameroon region. It will also accelerate the exploitation of other mining projects in the country, such as the Nkout iron ore project in the Southern region of Cameroon.

The railway infrastructure will consist of a double track railroad, main and intermediate stations, 510 km of mainline (Mbalam-Kribi) and 130 km of branch lines for the Avima, Badondo, and Nabeba mining sites, a train control and signalling system, a communication system, a rail access road, and operation and maintenance infrastructure. The technical features of the railway line include a standard gauge of 1.435m, an axle load of the rail of 37.5 tons, and a speed of 70 km/h for loaded mining trains. The project is estimated to cost 4.7 billion dollars and is expected to take a total of 39 months to complete, with 12 months for technical studies and 27 months for the construction of structures and the acquisition and installation of equipment.

According to the project specifications here are a few other interesting elements:

The main track is to be equipped with UIC 60 kg rails placed on reinforced concrete bi-block sleepers and UIC 54 kg for the service tracks; Traction mode: Diesel with the possibility of future electrification; Speed of the mining train when empty: 90 km/h; Speed of loaded mining train: 70 km/h; Number of wagons/mining train: 200 wagons; Payload per mining wagon: 120 tons, for a total capacity of 24,000 tons/mining train; 24/7 operation of the railroad: no holiday shutdowns except for possible destruction of the track; Fuel trains operate on the same schedule as iron ore trains on the main line to ensure all trains can pass/progress along the track as scheduled; The dedicated siding for loading fuel trains is a GATX Tank Train single-point loading/unloading system, as this system minimizes the investment cost and land space required.

On the 23rd of February AustSino issued a statement update as summarised below:

AustSino Resources Group Ltd confirms that CCC Mining Group Limited is working with several significant Chinese entities and state-owned enterprises to acquire, develop, and operate mining projects in Africa, particularly in West Africa. Three of these large Chinese state-owned enterprises have signed non-binding MOUs that require them to invest a minimum of 5% equity into the estimated $10B USD project. Additionally, AustSino announces that Midwest Resources Finance Group Pty Ltd, has agreed to extend the loan period expiry date to 29 Feb 2024 and increase the interest rate to 6.86% to provide working capital for AustSino. All other terms of the loan agreement remain unchanged. The board of AustSino expresses gratitude to Midwest for their support and commitment to the company.

Source: Railways Africa