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Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

A multi-billion dollar project is under way in Sierra Leone, where a 200km railway is being revived, linking the iron-ore mine at Tonkolili with the port of Pepel. Dawnus, a large civil engineering, building and construction company in Wales and the south of England is to build 50km of new line and refurbish 67km of the existing trackage. Over $US15m worth of equipment and materials has been shipped from Tilbury to Freetown, and the company has sent 30 of its UK employees to manage, engineer and supervise the works. This includes upgrading of the port. Dawnus are also employing over 160 Sierra Leoneans, including labourers, tradesmen, engineers and administrative staff. They have also sent training staff to the country to train 50 local operatives in using plant to European standards.

The $US24.5m rail construction entails extensive cut and fill operations, pioneering through swamps, extensi ve drainage operations including diversions, levees and the installation of numerous culverts, creating embankments, and excavating cuttings. The rail refurbishment civil package ($US5m) consists of removal of vegetation, widening and preparation of formation, laying of ballast and the stabilisation and reconstruction of embankments.

The quarry works ($US4.5m) consist of site clearance, drill-and-blast and process to ballast using crushing and screening equipment. This involves over 125,000t of ballast and 30,000t of concrete aggregate.

At Pepel, Dawnus is providing foundations for the new materials handling equipment as well as camp accommodation, cut/fill earthworks and demolition at the stockyard. The client is African Minerals Limited (AML).

The project is being delivered in line with a strict environmental and social management plan, ensuring compliance with all relevant government legislation and good practice.

 
awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney

A multi-billion dollar project is under way in Sierra Leone, where a 200km railway is being revived, linking the iron-ore mine at Tonkolili with the port of Pepel. Dawnus, a large civil engineering, building and construction company in Wales and the south of England is to build 50km of new line and refurbish 67km of the existing trackage.

- Tonymercury

The maths doesn't seem to add up.

How can 200km of line be revived if only 67km of existing line is to be reused?

200km less 67km implies 133km of new construction.

The proposed iron ore railway doesn't reuse any of the 2'6" goverment railway closed in 1974.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

A multi-billion dollar project is under way in Sierra Leone, where a 200km railway is being revived, linking the iron-ore mine at Tonkolili with the port of Pepel. Dawnus, a large civil engineering, building and construction company in Wales and the south of England is to build 50km of new line and refurbish 67km of the existing trackage.

- Tonymercury

The maths doesn't seem to add up.

How can 200km of line be revived if only 67km of existing line is to be reused?

200km less 67km implies 133km of new construction.

The proposed iron ore railway doesn't reuse any of the 2'6" goverment railway closed in 1974.

- awsgc24

But they are only building 50km of new line. Could it be that this is just one of several contracts????

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

I'm constantly surprised that some people still expect the media to be accurate - that world disappeared many years ago.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

.LOCOS FOR SIERRA LEONE

on August 23, 2011 in Sierra Leone

Twenty EMD 645 E3B-engined, 126 ton diesel-electric locomotives are being supplied by RRL (South Africa) to AML (African Minerals) for ore haulage in Sierra Leone. The National Railway Equipment Company (NREC) has shipped four GT26 type units to

Sierra Leone, built by Gredelj, the Croatian EMD rebuilder that has also supplied motive power to Riversdale Mining in Mozambique this year, for coal haulage from Moatize

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The Sierra Leone government, with assistance from the public relations department of African Minerals (SL) Ltd, is

engaging religious leaders, teachers, chiefs and other rural authorities in drawing attention to the hazards associated with railway operations.

A map of close to hundred villages was drawn up with rallying points clearly identified, based on mutual proximity. Thirty-five rallying points were each expected to bring together at least six representatives from between eight and nine villages to one combined meeting where safety sensitising is being organised.

The rail safety sensitisation community meetings began in September and are to run until mid-October, by when the team of dedicated safety officers, corporate assistants and communications support staff is expected to have met all community representatives from all chiefdoms in the mines and railway areas.

The message reads: “At crossings you must stop, look, listen and you will stay alive.” This simple message around safety and hazards associated with railway operations and trains, supported by universally accepted safety measures, is captured in videos and projected on giant screens with vivid graphics, all self-explanatory.

A slogan developed by community people in areas covered so far is: “LIFE IS ONE, LOOK AFTER IT.”

The campaign forms part of AML’s comprehensive plan to complete the railway as scheduled. The message is easily translatable into local dialects and slang by people living in villages along the company’s 200km line across the Tonkolili, Bombali and Port Loko districts, in the north of the country.

The theft of rail material during recent months has been highlighted too. The cutting and removal of clips, sleepers and rail endangers safety and can cause accidents, apart from the cost to the company and setbacks to the construction schedule. Towns and paramount chiefs have promised to warn their subjects against theft or damage of rail facilities.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

The China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG), currently constructing infrastructure for the government of Sierra Leone, faces problems with existing services that were supposed to be removed in advance of the work, which is now falling behind schedule.. According to the Concord Times (published in the capital, Freetown), utility companies involved include the Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC), the National Power Authority (NPA) and Sierratel.

Project coordinator for CRSG Liu Fei was quoted saying “We have long informed these companies to remove their existing pipes and cables where the work is being done but to no avail. The snail pace at which construction is moving is not our own making. We have everything in place to complete the job within the shortest possible time but the utility companies are not helping matters. We have informed them long before now to have their existing pipes and cables removed but that is yet to be adhered to. Every Wednesday, we hold meetings with these utility companies to find a way forward. But the companies are saying they don’t have the resources and materials to have their properties removed”.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

CAPE Lambert Resources plans a West African infrastructure play in two years to cash-in on the rapid interest in the emerging region.

Perth businessman Tony Sage wants his investment vehicle to be generating about $US250 million ($240.5m) each year from its iron ore assets, and is targeting a railway line from the group’s Sierra Leone project as the main revenue driver.

----------------

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Published: 9 November 2011

Tonkolili sees first shipments

African Minerals is to begin exporting iron ore from Sierra Leone in November following the completion of new rail and port infrastructure. Its Tonkolili mine, which is located 200 km east of the capital, Freetown, is to supply ore to both China and Europe in the first instance.

The company’s head of sales and marketing, David Tucker, said: “We are selling some trial cargoes, but really the intention is from those trial cargoes to cement long term offtake agreements with partners.”

Shandong Iron & Steel, which will purchase 25% of all output, will buy a 25% stake in the venture for US$1.5B, if and when the deal is sanctioned by the Chinese government.

Iron ore will be transported via the Pepel-Marampa Railway and the port of Pepel, both of which are operated by African Minerals under a 99 year concession.

The company has rehabilitated both assets, which had become degraded during the country’s long civil war. An estimated 1.5 mt will be exported by the end of this year, but the project is expected to reach full production of 15 mtpa during the course of next year.

Mike Jones, head of corporate development and investor relations, revealed: “Phase 2 of the project, which will boost iron ore mining capacity to about 45 million tonnes of iron ore per year, will start in the second half of next year, subject to completion of engineering studies and subject to funding.”

Phase 2 will require the construction of a new standard gauge railway and a new export terminal at Tagrin Point, close to Freetown.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

SIERRA LEONE: 1ST ORE SHIPPED BY AML

on November 22, 2011 in Sierra Leone

African Minerals Limited (AML) has loaded the first iron ore shipment from its Tonkolili project, the first such shipment from Sierra Leone in more than 30 years. This is a test cargo consigned to the Shandong Iron and Steel Group in China, prior to finalisation of investment totalling some $US1.5 billion.

AML built the fully integrated mine, rail and port infrastructure within 14 months of receiving the mining lease and the environmental impact assessment licence. Final commissioning of the port and railway are continuing, with completion expected before the end of 2011. It is planned to export 15 million tons in 2012.

To support present and future work on expanding infrastructure capacity, additional civil works and equipment will ne needed, including additional passing loops, more locomotives and ore wagons, also a second wagon dump facility at the port. These requirements are currently in the design stage or are being procured. It is expected that the bulk of the costs of this additional infrastructure will be funded by vendor finance, the balance from 2012 cash-flow.

Production at a rate of 20 million tons per annum is foreseen with effect from 2013.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Sierra Leoneans hadn’t seen a functioning locomotive engine in 30 years until African Minerals Ltd. rebuilt the rail network to export iron ore in November, almost a decade after civil war ended.

An iron-ore boom in West Africa, which may have deposits to rival Australia’s ore-rich Pilbara region, is motivating African Minerals, as well as miners Rio Tinto Plc and ArcelorMittal, to spend $25 billion on 3,170 miles of new and rebuilt railways and 11 new ports in West Africa, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

African Minerals is already benefiting, with its stock gaining 25 percent this year. More is to come: Nations including Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Republic of Congo may supply 250 million tons, or 9 percent of global iron ore output, by 2020, according to mining researcher Raw Materials Group.

“The standout development is African Minerals,” according to Matt Fernley, an analyst at GMP Securities Ltd. in London who said the stock is his “top pick in the sector. If you’re in Africa in iron ore, you want a world-class deposit and you want control over your own infrastructure. They have both.”

Most of Sierra Leone’s transport network was destroyed or left to ruin during the civil war that ended in 2002. Only 8.9 percent of the West African nation’s 11,555 kilometers (7,200 miles) of roads is paved and the main port, Pepel, has an annual capacity of just 16 million tons.

Sierra Leone was ranked third-lowest of 155 countries on the World Bank’s 2010 logistics performance index, a measure of the quality, cost and efficiency of transport networks.

Fastest-Growing Economy

Iron ore exports from African Minerals’ Tonkolili and London Mining Plc’s Marampa mines are set to boost Sierra Leone’s economy by 51 percent this year, the fastest projected pace of any nation in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. Guernsey, U.K.-based African Minerals is spending $1.2 billion on rails and ports and developing a mine in the first phase of its Tonkolili project.

In Guinea, where two coups have ousted presidents since the mid-1980s, Rio Tinto is spending $1 billion on the first phase of its Simandou project, which is estimated to produce 95 million tons of ore by 2015. London-based Rio plans to invest more than $10 billion on an iron-ore mine, 650 kilometers of industrial railway, 21 kilometers of tunnels and a new deep- water port south of the capital, Conakry.

‘Hugely Beneficial’

“It’s amazing for our country,” Guinea’s Mines Minister, Mohamed Lamine Fofana, said in a Feb. 7 interview in Cape Town. “The direct impact is hugely beneficial to the population: about 10,000 jobs, local sales, subcontracting. And indirectly, we get a lot of taxes.”

African Minerals said in an e-mail yesterday that starting shipments last year “would not have been possible without the support of our investors who have funded this $1.5 billion project and the Government of Sierra Leone who have created a positive investment climate for mining in the country.”

Shares in London Mining, which also has development projects in Greenland and Saudi Arabia, have lost 1.4 percent this year. That’s mainly from uncertainty about “access to funding, slower pace of production ramp-up, smaller development scale and slightly lower quality infrastructure links,” Seth Rosenfeld, an analyst at Jefferies Group Inc. in London who has a “buy” recommendation on the stock, said in an e-mail.

China’s steelmakers are driving the boom in iron ore, with imports set to increase 1.25 billion tons over the next decade, from 679 million tons last year, according to Raw Materials Group, based near Stockholm. Global iron ore exports amounted to 1.1 billion tons last year, from 504 million tons in 2001.

Deposit Handover

Prices for iron ore delivered to China have more than doubled in the past three years. The cash price of the benchmark 62 percent-iron ore arriving at China’s Tianjin port surged to $135.40 a ton by Feb. 21 from $59.50 on Nov. 21, 2008, when data became available, according to the Steel Index, a London-based independent provider of prices.

Investing in West Africa doesn’t come without risks, as Rio Tinto and ArcelorMittal have experienced. Guinea’s government ordered Rio Tinto to hand over two blocks of its Simandou deposit in 2008 to BSG Resources Ltd., the Guernsey-based company controlled by Israeli diamond investor Beny Steinmetz. While exporting through Liberia would be a cheaper and shorter route, Guinea has pushed Rio Tinto to build the railway to support the country’s development.

Vale SA, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, will only decide at the end of the year whether to go ahead with its plan to develop a mine with BSG at Simandou after assessing mining rules in the West African nation, the company said on Feb. 16.

Greater Slice

Senegal took ArcelorMittal to the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris last year, accusing the company of reneging on an agreement to begin production at its Faleme deposit in line with a mining license awarded in 2007. ArcelorMittal has “consistently met our commitments in Senegal” and will defend itself against the charge, Lynn Robbroeckx, a spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal in London, said in an e-mail.

“These newly empowered governments are intent on capturing a greater slice of its natural resource wealth, increasing the risk of resource nationalism,” Tom Wilson, a senior consultant at africapractice, a business advisory firm, said in a phone interview from London. “The challenge is for mining companies on how to engage with governments around this.”

Still, in Liberia, ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, invested $800 million to refurbish an iron ore mine, port and railways to produce the nation’s first exports in about 20 years in September. The Luxembourg-based company renovated 240 kilometers of rail lines, rebuilt bridges and roads and installed a new drainage system in the first phase of the project’s development.

“With the iron ore mines located hundreds of kilometers from the coast, the newly renovated railway line linking Tokadeh mine with the sea port at Buchanan is a crucial part of our operations,” Robbroeckx said. “ArcelorMittal’s investment and commitment to Liberia is a huge sign of confidence in the region.”

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

.RAILWAYS IN SIERRA LEONE

on March 6, 2012 in Sierra Leone

Nearly 10 years have passed since the civil war in Sierra Leone ended (in 2002) and in that time there has been no functioning railway in the country – ranked third-lowest of 155 on the World Bank’s 2010 logistics performance index. The global boom in iron-ore is motivating African Minerals, Rio Tinto Plc and ArcelorMittal to spend $US25 billion on 11 new ports and more than 5,000km of new and rebuilt railways in West Africa, according to J P Morgan Chase & company, quoted by Bloombergs. It is believed West Africa may have ore deposits rivalling Australia’s Pilbara region. In Sierra Leone, African Minerals Limited has already spent $1,2 billion on rail and port facilities serving its Tonkolili project. Its output, together with that from London Mining Plc’s Marampa mines, are expected to boost Sierra Leone’s economy by 51% in 2012. If this is achieved, the International Monetary Fund says, it will rate as the fastest in the world.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Cape Lambert Resources says it has signed a binding agreement confirming access to key transport infrastructure for the development of its Marampa iron ore project in Sierra Leone.

The agreement with London-based iron ore producer African Minerals supersedes an initial infrastructure agreement between the parties signed in 2008 and a term sheet agreement reached in 2010.

Under the agreement, African Iron will provide rail and port access to Cape Lambert and offer port handling and ship loading on a cost plus 20 per cent basis.

Cape Lambert will need to design and build a 34km rail spur line from its Marampa project to the existing railway.

The company is planning two develop Marampa in two stages with the first involving 2.5mtpa of hematite concentrate production with concentrate rail transport to the operating Pepel Port for export.

The second stage of development involves a minimum 10mtpa of hematite concentrate production with the incremental production pumped via pipeline to the proposed deep water port at Tagrin for export.

African Minerals will also have the option to purchase at mine gate up to 2mtpa of concentrate for three years from the start of stage one of Marampa.

The Marampa Project has a known mineral resource of 680 million tonnes (38 per cent indicated).

The company said it had also responded to offers of interest in a possible sell-down of the project via an asset sale.

Cape Lambert said it also expected to make an announcement regarding a proposed initial public offering for Marampa on London's AIM in the next seven days.

Cape Lambert shares were down half a cent, or 2.91 per cent, to 50 cents at 8.50am.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Sierra Leone



Published: 18 April 2012      
Cape Lambert signs Marampa transport deal

Australia’s Cape Lambert Resources has signed a binding Heads of Agreement with London-based African Minerals to secure access to key transport infrastructure for the development of its Marampa iron ore project in Sierra Leone.

 

The HoA between Cape Lambert and its subsidiary Marampa Iron Ore Ltd and iron ore producer African Minerals and its subsidiary African Railway and Port Group (ARPS) supersedes an initial infrastructure agreement between the parties signed in 2008 and a term sheet agreement reached in 2010.

Under the terms of the agreement ARPS, which leases and operates the Pepel Railway that passes close to the Marampa project, will provide access to the railway for the transportation by rail of up to 2 mtpa of iron ore concentrate from the Marampa project to the operating Pepel Port, will provide train sets to transport Marampa concentrate to Pepel Port, and will make available suitable infrastructure and materials handling facilities at Pepel Port with capacity to unload and stockpile up to 200,000 wmt of Marampa concentrate.

It will also arrange for stockpile reclaiming and loading of Marampa concentrate onto transhipping vessels at Pepel Port.

The Marampa Project is proposed to be developed in two stages, defined by its access to transport infrastructure:

  • Stage 1 – 2.5 mtpa of hematite concentrate production with concentrate rail transport to the operating Pepel Port for export; and
  • Stage 2 – a minimum 10 mtpa of hematite concentrate production with the incremental production pumped via pipeline to the proposed deep water port at Tagrin for export.
 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

London Mining's (LON:LOND) Marampa iron ore mine is due to be officially opened today by the president of Sierra Leone.

His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma is to formally open the AIM-quoted firm's 100 per cent owned project in the African country.

Last year was described as a "milestone" one for the company, in which it moved from developer to producer in Sierra Leone.

Marampa began production in December last year and began shipping the product to European and Chinese steel mills in January this year.  

The Marampa mine is 125km by road north-east of Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The company expects to produce 1.5 million tonnes of iron ore from Marampa in 2012, 4.2 million tonnes in 2013 and 5 million tonnes in 2014.

London Mining expects to expand capacity at Marampa to over 16 Mtpa (million tonnes per annum) of concentrate per year from the remainder of the Marampa ore body over a 25 year mine life.

The firm also owns 100 per cent of another iron ore project - Isua in Greenland.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

AFRICAN Minerals has signed a leasing agreement with RRL Grindrod for a further 14 S30SCC Co-Co diesel locomotives for use in Sierra Leone, in addition to the 20 it already leases from the South African company.

The 2.24MW locomotives will be used to haul iron on the recently-rehabilitated 200km line from the Tonkolili mine to the Atlantic port of Pepel. The mine has a projected output of 15-20 million tonnes per year.

In addition to the 34 units supplied to African Minerals, Grindrod has supplied similar locomotives to Congo Ocean Railway, and mining giant Vale has expressed an interest in the S30SCC for use on Mozambique's newly-reconstructed Sena line.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW

Progress at last on Tonkolili

After two years of talks, Chinese firm Shandong Iron & Steel Group (SISG) has finally taken a 25% stake in the Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone at a cost of $1.5B.

 

The company will buy 2 mtpa increasing to 10 mtpa at a slightly discounted rate, and will also take a 25% stake in the project’s port and railway subsidiaries. Production will start off at 20 mtpa but will be ramped up to 50 mtpa as a result of the Chinese investment.

 
Tonymercury Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: Botany NSW


A FRIENDSHIP between museums in Britain and Africa is to be celebrated with a new display for rail fans in County Durham.
Staff at Locomotion: The National Railway Museum at Shildon are set to hold a Sierra Leone Festival.
The exhibition is to celebrate the links between the UK National Railway Museum and the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum in Freetown.
A narrow gauge locomotive from Sierra Leone is already on show at the Shildon museum and a new display about the Sierra Leone Government Railway is to be opened for the event.
The festival will feature a display of photos from Sierra Leone and demonstrations of models from the African country.
There will also be talks about the links between the museums at the festival which runs between Saturday, 8, and Sunday, 9, September.
The Locomotion’s learning team has also worked with local schools to explore themes from Sierra Leone and some of the youngster’s work will be on show.
Visitors to Locomotion will also be able to take a short ride on a steam train at the museum for a small fee.
Entry to the museum and display is free with

 
sthyer Deputy Commissioner

For a fantastic slide show of the original Sierra Leone 2'6" railway given by Steve Davies, now Director of the NRM in York, look it up at http://www.theworkshops.qm.qld.gov.au/Events+and+Exhibitions/Events/2009/10/Railway+Heritage+Conference .  While the slide show is great, his talk was a highlight of the event.

Scroll down to
Financial Sustainability & Economics (day 3, session 3)

The National Railway Museum of Sierra Leone
Steve Davies, Director of the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

South African-based rail construction specialist Racec has landed a “sizable” contract in West Africa’s Sierra Leone. Commenting on the deal – worth some R70 million – Racec says it is in line with its strategy of expanding into Africa. Work is to begin in February 2013.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

(Reuters) - African Minerals Ltd will expand its existing rail and port infrastructure rather than build a new port to serve its flagship iron ore mine in Sierra Leone, a move, the company said, will save it about $1 billion.

African Minerals, which is dealing with a short-term funding crunch, said it expects total capital expenditure on the revised expansion plan to be about $2 billion.

              "This will significantly reduce capital costs, and de-risk the project's delivery, whilst at the same time reducing social and environmental impacts," African Minerals said.

              The company on Monday cut its iron ore shipment forecast from the Tonkolili mine, which sits on one of Africa's largest iron ore deposits, and said it was in advanced talks to secure additional working capital requirements.

              African Minerals has cut its production forecast twice this year as shipping was suspended between August and October due to high moisture levels after unusually heavy rains.

              The miner also agreed to raise China Railway Material Group Co Ltd's ownership limit in the company to 15 percent from 12.5 percent.

              Shares in African Minerals rose as much as 7 percent to an intra-day high of 292 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday. They were up 6 percent at 289.75 pence at 1022 GMT.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The latest new-build diesel (no 1211) arrived at Durban’s Maydon Wharf in mid-February, travelling via Swaziland from the RRL factory in Pretoria.

Thomas Kantor explains on the sar-L site: “The total order is for 30 locos built to EMD GT26CU-2 specifications by RRL Grindrod for use by African Minerals Ltd (AML) on the 200km railway linking Tonkolili iron ore mine with Port Pepel in Sierra Leone. They have EMD 645 E3B engines and weigh 126 tons. Nos 1105-1120 were built in 2011/12 and nos 1201-1204 in 2012/13. As RRL wouldn’t have been able to complete the first locos in time for the start of operations they bought in four NREC GT26CW built by TZV Gredelj in Croatia in 2011, numbered 1101-1104. All the locomotives are owned by RRL Grindrod and are on lease to AML.”

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

The latest new-build diesel (no 1211) arrived at Durban’s Maydon Wharf in mid-February, travelling via Swaziland from the RRL factory in Pretoria.

Thomas Kantor explains on the sar-L site: “The total order is for 30 locos built to EMD GT26CU-2 specifications by RRL Grindrod for use by African Minerals Ltd (AML) on the 200km railway linking Tonkolili iron ore mine with Port Pepel in Sierra Leone. They have EMD 645 E3B engines and weigh 126 tons. Nos 1105-1120 were built in 2011/12 and nos 1201-1204 in 2012/13. As RRL wouldn’t have been able to complete the first locos in time for the start of operations they bought in four NREC GT26CW built by TZV Gredelj in Croatia in 2011, numbered 1101-1104. All the locomotives are owned by RRL Grindrod and are on lease to AML.”

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

China has signed a $6 billion mining and construction deal with Sierra Leone, which the west African nation said Thursday would boost an economy still recovering from an 11-year civil war.

The private China Kingho Group will build a $1.7 billion north-south railway stretching 250 kilometres (155 miles), an industrial park, a deep water port for the transportation of ore to China, and a "mineral resources project", a government statement said, without elaborating.

Sierra Leone remains one of the world's poorest countries after the conflict which ended in 2002, but its mineral riches -- which include diamond, gold, bauxite, titanium ore and magnetite iron-ore -- have attracted massive investments.

Sierra Leone mineral resources minister Minkailu Mansaray said coal miner Kingho, which already has mining and construction interests in Sierra Leone, "remains a key player in the country's development".

"As a government, we will continue to encourage investors which are reliable, committed and trustworthy to beef up our economy," the minister said.

Kingho chairman Huo Qinghua noted that "with the signing of the agreement, Sierra Leone will have the lion's share of the company's investment, economic growth and other social amenities".

The railway from the northern mining district of Tonkolili to the southern coastal town of Sulima will be the second in Sierra Leone funded by China.

Iron ore miner African Minerals owns a 120-km line built by another Chinese firm which transports raw ore to a specially constructed port in the north of the country for export.

The authorities did not disclose the timeframe of the projects.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

LONDON (Reuters) - West African neighbours Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia should work together to resolve a dire lack of rail, port and power infrastructure that has held back the region's mining ambitions, a senior Liberian government official said.

Sam Russ, deputy minister of operations at the ministry of mines in Liberia, said the region should collaborate on export links to make the most of major iron ore deposits, pointing to potentially lucrative cooperation with Guinea to the north.

The billions of dollars required to build rail or road have frozen many West African iron ore projects and rendered others all but impossible in an environment of uncertain prices and tough access to cash. Russ told an investor conference in London that cooperation could help resolve that.

"Our economies are certainly too small to take on these massive investments. If we think about collaborating, we can do a lot," Russ said, pointing to the proximity of some deposits.

Key for Liberia - an emerging iron ore producer but also one of the region's least explored destinations - would be cooperation with Guinea. That could, he said, help unlock the potential of Guinea's giant Simandou mine and benefit Liberia.

"The Guinean government seemed more open to discussions," he said of a mining industry meeting earlier this year, adding signals had since been "more positive". The two would have to agree on issues including tariffs, routes and other key issues.

A WAY OUT

Mining companies hoping to work in Guinea's south, including those tapping the Simandou deposit, have for years studied the possibility of exporting through Liberia - a shorter route to the sea, instead of following a far longer route to Conakry.

But Guinea has long been cold on the idea of exporting through Liberia, hesitating to hand control of key infrastructure to a neighbour.

Infrastructure has been a key factor in holding back the development of Simandou - becoming a major issue for both Rio Tinto, owner of the concession for the southern half of Simandou and for Brazil's Vale and Israeli diamond billionaire Beny Steinmetz's BSG Resources, holding the rest.

Rio's plans - at a cost estimated at as much as $20 billion - involve exporting across Guinea instead of following the shortest route to the sea through Liberia. This means it will have to build almost 700 km (430 miles) of rail, 35 bridges and a four-berth wharf 11 km offshore.

The Vale-BSGR concession was originally given agreement to ship ore through Liberia, in exchange for building a $1 billion passenger and freight railway from Conakry to Kerouane in the south east. But it is unclear that still stands.

The future of the Nimba project in Guinea, a majority stake in which is currently being sold by BHP Billiton, is also likely to depend on an export route through Liberia.

Investors in the region said they would welcome cooperation between the three countries, pointing to other cross-border cooperations, like exports from Zambia through its neighbours.

"One of the silver linings of the commodity cloud is that these conversations (corridors, tariffs) now take place in a more realistic context," said Philip Baum, chairman of Russian gold miner Nord Gold, active in Guinea. "It's a slam dunk to transport the material through Liberia."

Steel giant ArcelorMittal has been exporting iron ore from the Yekepa mine in Nimba county in Liberia, which borders Guinea, since 2011. The rail link it uses, down to the port of Buchanan, has been closely eyed by producers considering mines across the border in Guinea.

Joseph Mathews, head of ArcelorMittal's west African operations, said the group would welcome cross-border cooperation, but cautioned Guinea and rivals there could not rely on existing infrastructure alone.

"The capacity is currently around 5 million tonnes, and we will upgrade that to 15 to 18 million tonnes," he said of ArcelorMittal's refurbished rail link. "But that does not suddely create space for another producer that needs another 15 million tonnes." It is currently running at full capacity.

 

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