Maputo — The projected new railway from the Moatize coal basin in the western Mozambican province of Tete to a new deep water mineral port at Macuse, in Zambezia, will be extended westwards to the region of Chitima, according to Abdul Carimo, chairperson of the Zambezia Development Corridor (CODIZA).
The Macuse project is 60 per cent owned by the Italian Thai Development Company of Thailand, 20 per cent by CODIZA and 20 per cent by Mozambique's publicly owned port and rail company, CFM.
The initial design of the railway was for a 500 kilometre line from Macuse to Moatize, but mining companies whose concessions are in Chitima, supported by banks with interests in these investments, called for the extension to Chitima, a distance of about 120 kilometres.
Carimo, cited in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, added that the initial project also had to be altered because mistakes had been discovered in indicating the area it would cover. Making the necessary corrections took time, he said, which had delayed the launch of the project.
The alterations would give “greater credibility” to the Moatize-Macuse rail and port project, said Carimo. He expected the first stone in the railway construction to be laid next year.
The total cost of the railway and port was put at about 2.3 billion US dollars, before agreeing the extension to Chitima. The new port at Macuse will have the capacity to receive ships of over 80,000 tonnes. Although designed mainly for Mozambican coal exports, it could also be used by landlocked countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe for their trade.
The railway to Macuse will be the third route for exporting Moatize coal. The other two are the lines to the central port of Beira, and to the northern port of Nacala-a-Velha (which cuts across southern Malawi).