Ivanhoe Mines has announced that is has reached an agreement that will see the company rebuild a railway spur line in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ivanhoe Mines, which wholly owns the significant flagship Kipushi zinc-copper mine in the DRC, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with state-owned railway company, Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC).
The MoU will see Ivanhoe Mines rebuild 34km of track that will connect the Kipushi Mine with the DRC national railway at Munama, just south of the mining capital of Lubumbashi.
The DRC national railway is a key part of the international rail corridor that links the DRC Copperbelt to major seaports at Durban and Richards Bay in South Africa, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Lobito in Angola.
“A daily train from Kipushi will replace the equivalent of 50 road trucks, resulting in significant safety and environmental benefits to the DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, reduced road and border congestion and decreased air pollution,” said Robert Friedland, Founder of Ivanhoe Mines.
“The reactivated spur line also will provide significant economic and social benefits to residents of Kipushi and the southern DRC provinces of Haut-Katanga and Lualaba, allowing for efficient transportation of supplies to and from the area.”
Construction of the Kipushi-spur line could begin in 2018.
Resumption of rail service along the Kipushi spur line is the most economical and reliable solution for the transportation of Kipushi’s projected annual output of approximately 530,000 tonnes of zinc concentrates.