Study shows viability of railway line to Katima

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Study shows viability of railway line to Katima

The Final Feasibility Study (FFS) for the Trans-Zambezi Railway Extension from Grootfontein to Rundu and Katima Mulilo, which was commissioned by the works and transport ministry, has been completed. 

The key finding of the study is that the proposed 772km new railway line is viable from a technical, environmental, legal, financial, and economic standpoint and should be constructed. 

The study investigated the construction of the Trans-Zambezi Railway extension from Grootfontein to Katima Mulilo via Rundu, which will form part of a multinational railway line between Namibia and Zambia via the Zambezi region. 

The FFS was conducted by Canadian-based MR Technofin Consultants Ltd and co-funded by Namibia and the African Development Bank. The FFS has since been submitted to the work ministry.  

The cross-border rail project aims to link new mines and mining activities, particularly from neighbouring countries, to the railway network along the Walvis Bay – Ndola – Lubumbashi Development Corridor to enable transportation of products from the mineral rich Copperbelt area in Zambia to Walvis Bay. 

In this regard, the corridor is perfectly positioned to service trade between the SADC region and Europe, North and South America and emerging markets in the East, for a regional context to this crucial transport corridor.

Meanwhile, Botswana-based mining outfit Tsodilo Resources Limited called the proposed rail extension “an important development”.

It opens up a proximate rail transportation system for the delivery of Tsodilo’s Xaudum Iron Formation project’s potential iron products, such as iron concentrate, iron pellets, potential direct reduced iron (DRI) products, and ferrosilicon throughout central, eastern and southern Africa as well as international markets.  

“We are encouraged by the study’s findings set forth in the report as the key conclusion of the assignment is that the proposed 772km Greenfield line is viable and should move forward,” stated Tsodilo’s chairman and CEO James Bruchs.

Furthermore, Tsodilo hailed the proposed rail extension between Grootfontein and Katima Mulilo as significant, considering that the extension is planned to pass through Divundu which is a mere 35 kilometres from the company’s licence location in northern Botswana. Tsodilo is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for mineral deposits in Botswana.

Photo: Study

Caption: Viable project…A technical drawing of the proposed railway extension from Grootfontein via Rundu to Katima Mulilo. Photo: Contributed