WINDHOEK - The tendering for the feasibility study for the construction of the multi-billion dollar railway line connecting Botswana’s Mmamabula coal field to the port of Walvis Bay is expected to start before the end of this year, National Planning Commission (NPC) Permanent Secretary, Leevi Hungamo, informed New Era yesterday.
“The tender process for the feasibility study will start this year and the report will be ready next year,” said Hungamo.
“The two governments are still working on logistics and setting up the project management office that will spearhead the project,” he said.
Asked whether there is any challenges faced by the project, Hungamo said currently there are no challenges facing the project and all planned activities are on course.
“So far the cost of the project has not yet been established as the feasibility study is yet to be conducted,” said Hungamo.
“Even if the cost will be that much, the parties concerned will be able to secure the funds,” he said.
He further said it is important to note that this project will not be funded by the two governments but rather by a private sector developer.
However, given the distance and complexity of the project, it is anticipated that the construction may take three years.
The 1 500km railway line will traverse the vast semi-arid, sandy savannah of the Kalahari desert from Botswana to Namibia, with the sole benefit of connecting the landlocked Botswana to Namibia’s port of Walvis Bay, thus unlocking the value of coal mining in Botswana and power generation in the region. The railway line mirrors the existing Trans-Kalahari Highway or corridor, which links Botswana to Walvis Bay, but stretches 1 900km from Walvis Bay through Windhoek, Gaborone in Botswana and Johannesburg to Pretoria in South Africa.
Construction of the project is expected to cost approximately N$100 billion (about US$9.2 billion). Financing will be sourced through private stakeholders. The Trans-Kalahari Highway was constructed at a cost of N$850 million and opened in 1998.
But Hungamo said that there has not been any study conducted to determine actual costing.
“The process to obtain financing from the private sector in order to secure the development has already commenced,” said Hungamo.
By Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
New Era Reporter
2014-08-12 09:02:51 4 years ago