Zambia Railways rehabilitation to unlock mineral resource potential

Zambia Railway Limited

Zambia Railway Limited

STANDARD Bank says the allocation of US$ 120 million to Zambia Railway Limited (ZRL) to rehabilitate its infrastructure and railway network will form the catalyst for Africa’s ability to unlock bulk mineral resource potential.

The bank notes that with the mining sector set to thrive in the next decade, mining companies will greatly benefit from infrastructure development.

In statement released in Lusaka yesterday, the bank’s global sector head of power and infrastructure David Humphrey says rehabilitation of the railway sector in Zambia will ease pressure on road networks and shift bulk commodities from road to the railway system.

Recently, Government released a US$120 million grant to ZRL to enable it rehabilitate about 980 kilometer stretch from Chingola to Livingstone.

Mr Humphrey said the inadequate rail networks in Africa are limiting the economic potential of some of the commodity hot spots on the continent.

He said despite Africa’s enthusiasm to benefit from mining sector, the ability to fully exploit resources is limited by infrastructure constraints.

Africa will need to spend over US$50 billion in the next decade on building 4,000 kilometers of additional rail infrastructure which continues to be the main challenge in exploiting vast deposits of bulk commodities, particularly iron ore, manganese and coal deposits.

“As mining activities in key regions expand, mining output is starting to exceed existing rail capacity despite on-going efforts to upgrade and maintain these rail links,” he said.

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