Govt should walk the talk on railway transport
BY The Daily Times
17:29:54 - 19 June 2008
Wednesday the nation was commemorating 100 years of the establishment of railway transport in the country. It is obvious that we have come a long way. But a fascinating question is how the country’s railway system has changed over the same period of time.
Sadly, there is very little if anything to look at with admiration. Actually, if anything, our pride where railway transport is concerned is in the past.
The railway industry is an entity that has run the full cycle of birth, growth, maturity, deterioration and death. The attrition of the sector has largely been determined by exogenous factors over which Malawi had no control.
Chief among these was the 16-year-old civil war in Mozambique which ravaged most of the rail line to the country’s traditional route to the sea. The war ruined most of the rail transport system busting the once bustling Malawi Railways.
But the turnaround was also to be determined by external factors. The end of the end of the civil war in Mozambique between that government’s Frelimo and the then rebel movement Renamo rekindled hope for a renaissance of the rail transport sector.
But perhaps understandably, due to heavy investments that are required to rehabilitate a dilapidated rail infrastructure, prospects for growth of business on the rail transport system to Mozambique even after the end of the civil strife has been less than spectacular.
Locally, there seems to have been no political will to turn things around. Most of the rail line is in derelict condition over 13 years after it was damaged by floods. How do we expect things to improve?
That is where the challenge is. Government owns the railway infrastructure. Therefore the onus is on Government to take the lead in rehabilitating it to attract investors into the sector. The private sector can only come in if it is assured of making profits from their investment in the industry.
With the unprecedented hikes in fuel prices globally, railway transport should remain the cheapest mode of transport for many developing countries not connected to the sea.
We are aware that Government has been talking about rebuilding the railway line from Nsanje to Mchinji alongside implementing road as well as water transport network such as the Shire Zambezi waterway project.
We are delighted that on the road network, there is evidence of government’s commitment to improve the situation. We hope it will also walk the talk on other projects including the railway sector.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
On 17 June 2008, the centenary of the arrival of the first train at Blantyre on 1 March 1908 was commemorated by celebrations attended by President Bingu Mutharika. He inspected a photograph exhibition at Limbe station before proceeding to the Ferries football ground in Blantyre where the festivities took place.
Originally established in 1902 as the Shire Highlands Railway, the name was changed to Nyasaland Railways in 1909 and Malawi Railways Limited in 1964. Following privatisation in 1999, the system became Central East African Railways (CEAR) with Railroad Development Corporation of the USA as a major shareholder.
CEAR achievements mentioned to the Nyasa Times by public relations and administration officer Daniel Undani include the introduction of radio communication between locomotive drivers and central control, the reinstating of the Rivirivi Bridge following severe washaways some years ago and the setting up of a fully fledged safety department.
Undani concedes that competition from road hauliers is affecting the company’s performance, though some areas are accessible to rail only.
Encroachment on the railway reserve is a problem, with agricultural activity too close to the line resulting in washaways during heavy rain.
"Another serious problem,” Undani told the paper, “is vandalism of the railway structures such as slippers and culverts, which people steal for making hoes and this has also compromised our railway lines."
(Glossary: For “slippers” (colloquial East African English), read “sleepers”.)
Malawi interconnect railway to South-Africa
Posted on Saturday 21 June 2008 - 08:00
Harry Mangulenje, Africanews Reporter in Blantyre, Malawi
Malawi is nursing plans to interconnect her railway network to Johannesburg via Mozambique, to enable her agro-based farmers easily access upper import or export markets without having to worry about soaring inland transport fares.
Malawi is also mentioning of rehabilitating rail line to Zambia via central western district of Mchinji.
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika speaking in the commercial city of Blantyre says rail transport enables people to ferry bulky goods as opposed to land and air. He also added that rail is relatively the most affordable of all the modes of transport in the World.
"All the richest countries in the world, developed fast because of rail transport, in United States of America, there is Orange Gross Express which stretches from Los Angeles to New York, it is the through that channel that America is the richest.
"In Europe there is Oriental Express line which stretches from London in United Kingdom to Istanbul in Turkey," he said.
Government says Malawi is going to interconnect the already existing rail line between Johannesburg and Mozambique after rehabilitation work of part of the line is rehabilitated in Maputo.
Mutharika said while inland transport like vehicles are good, they need to be complemented by a cheap and affordable transport like railway.
"Few of our people can afford to use air transport, as a matter of fact air lines only allow 30 kilogram per person free, exceeding this weight it attracts huge charges," he said.
Deputy Minister of Transport Public Works and Housing Roy Coomsy, said government is rehabilitating local rail network beginning with a line between Maleule in Blantyre to Lilongwe and from Salima to Zambia via Mchinji to ensure that export and import of products is made easy.
"Currently we are expecting consultants from European Union who are arriving any time soon to start up the rehabilitation of al local rail lines and locomotives beginning with the one from Marka in Nsanje to Chiromo," said Coomsy.
On the roads, Coomsy said Construction work on the modern two way Masauko Chipembere Highway would be through by December 2009.
The K1.02 billion which is being implemented through Japanese Government Grant Aid which was signed on July 18, 2007 by Malawi's Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and Japanese envoys is expected to reduce the problem of traffic congestion being experienced in the city especially during peak hours.
"Blantyre would be a changed place once the reconstruction of Chipembere Highway into a dual carriage is completed, the whole Malawi would be a changed country, once this project is through," he said.
He dismissed claims from opposition parties that the project was commenced by former regime of president Bakili Muluzi.
Signing of the project, between Malawi and Japan took place last year and thus it could not be the former government that initiated the project.
Government has sourced 25 million United States dollars (approximately K3.5 billion) for rehabilitation of the country's railway line, deputy Minister of Public works and Transport Roy Coomsy disclosed on Wednesday.
MORE TRAINS FOR MALAWI
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Central East African Railways (CEAR), concessionaire of Malawi Railways, plans to bring in six additional locomotives –raising the fleet total to 22 - and will also augment the present 14 passenger coaches. This will make it possible to extend commuter service at Blantyre and Lilongwe, CEAR commercial and management director Wilfred Ali told the press at the start of the railway’s centenary celebrations on 17 June
According to government’s Principal Secretary for Transport Mac Phail Magwira, improvement in railway infrastructure is important, to ease the pressure on the road network and thereby reduce financial outlay on repairs.
CEAR statistics reflect that 400,000 tonnes of freight were carried by the railway in 2007, compared with only 150,000 tonnes in 2001. Passenger totals of a million are expected in 2008, up from 650,000.
CFM Offers to Rebuild Railway Inside Malawi
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
21 October 2008
Posted to the web 21 October 2008
Mozambique's publicly owned ports and railway company, CFM, has offered to rehabilitate the railway from the Malawian city of Blantyre to Vila Nova de Fronteira on the Malawi/Mozambique border, according to a report in Monday's issue of the Malawian "Daily Times".
According to the paper, the chairperson of the CFM board, Rui Fonseca, revealed this offer publicly last week, at a meeting in Beira, marking the tenth anniversary of the lease on Beira port to the Dutch company Cornelder. He said the offer had been made several weeks ago, but CFM is still waiting for a reply from the Malawian authorities.
"We are constructing the 45 km stretch of railway from Vila Nova da Fronteira up to Nsanje but we have asked the Malawi Government to let us continue with the 100 kilometres up to Blantyre. As of now, we are still waiting for a response," said Fonseca.
Fonseca said this would cost CFM around 11 million US dollars. CFM was prepared to make such an investment to ensure that Malawian goods could travel directly by rail to the port of Beira.
The entire Sena railway, which links Beira to the Moatize coal basin in Tete province, is being rebuilt - including the spur to Vila Nova de Fronteira. But Malawian traffic cannot use the Sena line unless the railway inside Malawi is also rehabilitated.
Malawi used to be a major user of Beira port. But the apartheid backed Renamo rebels destroyed the Sena line in the early 1980s, and for quarter of a century there was no traffic along the line.
Currently any Malawian goods using Beira must reach the port by road.
By: Marcel Chimwala
18th September 2009
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US government foreign aid agency, has agreed to finance the planned rehabilitation of Malawi’s rail network and rural feeder roads.
The transport plan was among the projects that the Malawi government submitted to MCC in May this year, with the other projects being in the energy and governance sectors.
Millennium Challenge Account Malawi (MCA-Malawi) public outreach coordinator Susan Banda reports that a nine-member MCC team visited Malawi in July and conducted a thorough appraisal of the projects and was convinced that implementing the transport plan, alongside other projects in the energy and governance sectors, would help spur economic growth in the Southern African country.
Banda says MCA-Malawi has already embarked on preliminary arrangements, in conjunction with Malawi’s Ministry of Transport and Public Infrastructure, to start the rehabilitation of the rail network, which connects landlocked Malawi to the sea through the Nacala and Beira corridors.
MCC is expected to financially assist the Malawi government in conducting feasibility studies, preliminary designs and environmental-impact assessment studies on the projects before approval of a five-year compact grant.
The director of transport planning in the Ministry of Transport and Public Infrastructure, Victor Lungu, comments that the rail rehabilitation exercise will boost trade between Malawi and neighbouring countries as it will increase the speed at which trains move in Malawi.
“The railway system in Malawi is very slow because of the poor condition of the rail infrastructure. “Trains move at a speed of between 30 km/h and 40 km/h, and the project will ensure that trains are able to move at 60 km/h to 70 km/h, which is the case in other Southern African countries,” says Lungu.
Ministry of Transport and Public Infrastructure principal secretary Francis Chinsinga says the MCC deal has come at a time when Malawi is working with neighbouring countries to implement regional transportation corridors.
He also reveals that the Malawi government has also approached the World Bank and the European Investment Bank for more funds for the rail rehabilitation project.
“Apart from these cooperating partners, we are also inviting private-sector partners to come in and negotiate a ‘build, operate and transfer’ agreement, whereby the investor will rehabilitate the railway line and operate it for several years before giving it back to government,” says Chinsinga.
In the energy sector, MCC is expected to finance projects to promote the use of alternative sources of energy.
Written by Thom Khanje
Friday, 11 December 2009
The Japanese government is to provide a grant of up to US$2.5 million for a feasibility study on the rehabilitation of the Sena Railway line and the Chiromo Bridge in Nsanje district.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Motoyoshi Noro and Transport and Public Infrastructure Minister Khumbo Kachali exchanged letters on the grant in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
Noro said after exchanging the papers that following the ceremony, the Ministry of Transport and Public Infrastructure and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) would go ahead to procure services of a consultant to undertake the feasibility study on the proposed project.
He said the feasibility study, which will take between one to one and half years, is expected to provide data base for the rehabilitation of the Sena Railway, which was damaged after Malawi stopped using it in 1983 because of the civil war in Mozambique .
The project will open a new chapter for a further improved transportation system within Malawi and the Sadc region,_ said Noro.
On his part, Kachali thanked the Japanese government for showing interest in funding the Sena Railway and Chiromo Bridge projects, saying their rehabilitation is important for the transport sectors of Malawi , Mozambique and Zambia .
He said apart from opening a shorter route from Malawi and Zambia to the port of Beira , the rail-line and the Chiromo Bridge are also an important component of the Shire-Zambezi Waterway Project.
Kachali said before it was closed, the Sena-Beira Rail line used to be the backbone of the Malawi economy as many commodities, including tea, tobacco and cotton, used to be exported through the line at a cheaper cost that the routes being used now.
He said the damage caused by floods on the Chiromo Bridge in 1997 has negatively affected economic activity in Chikwawa and Nsanje district.
The Malawi government says it will cost $231-million to fully rehabilitate the Nacala railway, with $8-million of this amount being required for emergency repairs.
Victor Lungu, director of transport planning at the Ministry of Transport and Public Infra- structure, says this price tag was confirmed by a study undertaken with financial support from the European Union.
He says the report also indicates that, once the railway line is rehabilitated, it will take only 38 hours – down from five to seven days – for a train to travel between the Port of Nacala and Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.
“Currently, trains travel at 15 km/h to 20 km/h because of the poor condition of the railway line. When the rehabilitation exercise is finalised, trains will travel at a speed of 50 km/h to 70 km/h,” says Lungu.
The Nacala railway line is the backbone of the Nacala Development Corridor, a spatial development initiative involving areas in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique that have largely unexploited potential in a number of areas, including agroprocessing and mining.
Meanwhile, the Malawi government says it is continuing with the process to review the concession awarded to the Central East African Railways (CEAR) consortium, which runs rail operations in the country.
Lungu explains that the review is aimed at ensuring the concessionaire’s efficiency in maintaining and developing the railway network and acquiring new locomotives and wagons.
“The review is being undertaken in line with a new railway concession model framework developed by the Southern African Development Community, which gives full responsibility for the operations to the concessionaire,” says Lungu.
Brazilian mining firm Vale became the major shareholder in CEAR after it acquired the stake of Insitec, which it had bought from the US’s Rail Road Development.
Lungu says Vale is interested in participating in the development of the Shire–Zambezi waterway, as it is exploring several ways of transporting coal from its Moatize mine, in Mozambique, to export markets.
Malawi is pursuing a megatransport plan that involves developing and interlinking the Beira, Nacala and Mtwara corridors with the Shire–Zambezi waterway.
Malawi and Mozambique are currently discussing the possible launch of a feasibility study into the waterway project, which will link landlocked Malawi to the Indian Ocean by dredging a canal through the Shire and Zambezi rivers.
Maputo — The Malawian government and the Brazilian mining company Vale on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding in the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, on the construction of a new railway across southern Malawi.
The agreement was witnessed by Mozambican Transport Minister Paulo Zucula.
The purpose of the new line will be to take coal mined by Vale at its concession in Moatize, in the western province of Tete, to the northern Mozambican port of Nacala, and the shortest way of reaching Nacala is through Malawi.
The new railway is thought necessary because the existing Sena line, from Moatize to the central port of Beira, will be unable to handle the vast amount of coal exports planned by Vale and the other mining companies exploiting the Moatize coal basin.
According to a report on Radio Mozambique, the new railway will cost about two billion US dollars.
Galib Chaim, the managing director of Vale-Mozambique, said that the memorandum of understanding with Malawi is just the starting point for the actions that will be needed to build the line.
The total distance from Moatize to Nacala is about 900 kilometres. Not all the line will be entirely new, since after passing through Malawi it will join the existing northern railway to Nacala. For mineral exports Nacala has the great advantage that it is a natural deep water port which, unlike Beira or Maputo, does not need any dredging. Ships of any size can dock at Nacala.
Vale intends to start its coal exports from Moatize in the second half of this year, using the Sena line, and the new coal terminal now under construction in Beira.
on June 23, 2011 in Malawi
Central East African Railways (Cear), Malawi’s railway concessionaire, missed most of its planned targets in the 2009/10 financial year, Business News (published in Nairobi) reports. A document entitled “Rail transport infrastructure management and operation,” was circulated during a joint transport sector review held between 2 and 3 June 2011 in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
According to controller of rail transport services in the ministry of transport and public works Geoffrey Magwede, Cear missed its passenger traffic target of 628,515 by 11%, carrying only 559,076. Cear missed its intended freight traffic target of 384,182 tonnes by 35% during the fiscal year under review, moving only 248,702 tonnes. Hopes of acquiring two additional locomotives to boost motive power capacity and improve availability to at least 70% were not realised “due to funding limitations.” In Magwede’s words: “To date, there is no clear indication or confirmed commitment that the shareholders will provide funding that will enable the introduction of the additional locomotives in the 2011 financial year”
. At $US4.6 million, revenue reported by Cear was 40% below the budget of about $7.7 million. Operational costs were down, mainly on account of reduced train movements due to fuel scarcity. Only about $171,052 was spent on track maintenance, compared with a budget figure of about $394,736. During the meeting, European Union (EU) delegation head in Malawi Alexander Baum, who spoke on behalf of the donor community, urged Malawi to create a well-functioning rail link with neighbouring countries, to cut the cost of transporting imports and exports.
FUEL SHORTAGE HITS MALAWI TRAINS
on November 22, 2011 in Malawi
Rail services provided in Malawi by Central East African Railways (CEAR) were hard hit in mid-November by a national shortage of fuel oil, thought to be related to government problems with foreign exchange. The absence of passenger trains stranded many would-be passengers.
Railway deal to cut freight costs by 40 percent
MONDAY, 26 DECEMBER 2011 12:37 KINGSLEY JASSI
The new railway concession deal signed between Malawi and Vale Emirates last Thursday is expected to help reduce Malawi's international transportation costs by almost 40 percent for exporters and importers who will use the infrastructure.
The Tete, Chapananga –Balaka- Nayuchi-Nacala railway, to be rehabilitated by Vale Emirates at the cost of US$1 billion under the agreement, is expected to become operational in three years.
The agreement specifically provides two trains of general cargo that guarantee the country 5.2 million tonnes of general cargo per annum, increasing the current freight of cargo from 1.5 million tonnes per year.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Mutharika graced the signing ceremony for the concession which took place in Lilongwe.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure, Sidik Mia said the concession agreement has a number of benefits as government of Malawi did thorough consultations to negotiate for a better deal.
He said negotiations took almost eight months to see 20 draft agreements amended before the final one that was signed at the ceremony.
Mia said based on the current inland transportation bill to the port of Nacala, Dar es Salaam, Beira and Durban, the country is expected to make a saving on foreign exchange of more than US$120 million once the rehabilitated railway line become operational.
"We are excited with the project because it will assist us to ensure a coordinated transport system in the country through the guaranteed access and transportation of Malawian and transit general cargo and passengers within the Nacala Corridor," said Mia.
He said priority cargo such as fertilizers and petroleum products would reach the country in time and at competitive prices to further enhance the country's competitiveness of the economy.
Vale Emirates Executive Director Galib Chaim said his company will construct a new 138.5 kilometre railway from Chapananga on the border through Mwanza, Neno to Nkaya in Balaka and rehabilitate an existing line from Nkaya to Nayuchi, a distance of 98.6 kilometres.
He said the project will create 4,500 jobs of which 70 percent will be Malawians and that his company will give out 20 percent of local management of the company to the locals once the railway becomes operational.
"The line will reduce transportation period of goods between Nacala and Limbe to 38 hours from the current period of between five and seven days," said Chaim.
Vale, according to the agreement, will also construct passenger stations at Chapananga, Neno, Nkaya Junction, Liwonde Township and Nayuchi as there will be daily passenger trains along the railway.
The company, which already conducted Environment Impact Assessment, agreed to incur the cost of resettlement involving communities and property along the project site and will also partner with government to upgrade access roads to the railway stations including the Chikhwawa-Chapananga Road.
"We are committed to assisting the communities along the railway project and we have already started making plans on how to embark on some of the social responsibility programmes," said Chaim.
.SÉNÉGAL-MALI LINE UPGRADE NEEDED
on December 7, 2011 in Senegal
Wrong post !!
Mali not Malawi !!
.VALE SIGNS FOR LINE THROUGH MALAWI
on January 24, 2012 in Malawi
On 11 January, the government of Malawi signed a $US1 billion deal with Brazil’s Vale mining group covering the rehabilitation of lines in Malawi and the construction of a 100km new link from Blantyre to a point near Moatize in Mozambique. The work envisaged will target the moving of 18 million tons of coal annually to the deepwater port of Nacala in northern Mozambique. Reuters quoted minister of transport Sidick Mia explaining: “Vale will invest about $1 billion in Malawi over a period of three years for construction and rehabilitation of the railway line and it is expected to employ 4,500 workers of which 70% will be Malawians.”
NEW LINE TO MALAWI
on February 14, 2012 in Malawi
At a cost of some $US6 billion, Brazil’s Vale mining group intends to double production at its Moatize coal mine in Mozambique’s Tete province to 22 million tons a year. It plans to move 18mt of this annually by way of Malawi to the northern Mozambique deepwater port of Nacala.
On 11 January, the government of Malawi signed a $1 billion deal with Vale covering the rehabilitation of the country’s railway and the construction of a new line, approximately 145km in length, to a junction with the existing railway near Blantyre from a point about 50km east of Moatize in Mozambique. Vale recently acquired the majority shareholding in Central East African Railways (CEAR) which holds a 20-year concession to operate the complete Malawi rail network. The original lead shareholder in CEAR when the concession was awarded in 1999 was the Railroad Development Corporation (RDC) of Pittsburgh USA, headed by Henry Posner III. RDC sold to the Mozambiquan investor group Insitec in 2008 and Insitec’s share has now passed to Vale. About $1 billion is to be invested by Vale in Malawi over a period of three years for construction and rehabilitation of the railway and it expects to employ some 4,500 workers of which 70% are to be Malawians.
On the Mozambican side of Malawi’s eastern border, substantial work is needed to strengthen both track and bridges along the 615km of track through Cuamba and Nampula to Nacala.
Vale commenced limited exports in June 2011, using the Sena line to the coal terminal at the port of Beira, but capacity on this route is unlikely to exceed about 6mta, even when upgrading is finally complete.
Malawi's government signed a $1 billion deal with Vale ( VALE , quote ) for construction and restoration of a railroad that will transport 18 million tons of coal from Mozambique, officials said.
Vale will build a new railway line roughly 138.5 km from Chikhwawa to connect to the already existing cargo trunk line in Balaka. The company will also rehabilitate 98.6 km of railway between Nkayi and Nayuchi.
The company will invest about $1 billion in Malawi over three years to build and rehabilitate the railway and should employ 4,500 people, Malawi Transport Minister Sidick Mia told Reuters.
Vale is the world's second largest mining company and has built a strong presence in Africa since 2004, with offices in Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Mozambique and South Africa.
Recently, it acquired 51% of BSG Resources, which holds iron ore mining concessions in Guinea. Africa is seen by Vale as the new main supplier of raw materials once its massive Brazilian deposits start to wane.
Mozambique in particular has become a key center of the company's coal mining ambitions. Unlike rival BHP Billiton ( BHP , quote ), the world's largest miner, Vale has no gigantic coal seams in Australia to work.
With diversification from iron ore becoming a strategic necessity, increased investment across Africa makes sense for Vale.
PORTUGUESE GROUP TO BUILD LINE IN MALAWI
on February 21, 2012 in Malawi
The new connecting line of about 145km to Blantyre in Malawi from a point some 50km east of Moatize in Mozambique is to be built by Portuguese group Mota-Engil. The contract – funded by the Brazilian mining group Vale – is worth $US 703 million, according to a statement filed with Portuguese stock market regulator CMVM. The work is to be completed by mid-2014.
MAPUTO, May 14(Xinhua) -- The Malawian president Joyce Banda said the country will use the opportunity to export and import its goods using the port of Beira in Mozambique's Sofala province.
The Mozambique News Agency (AIM) quoted her on Monday as saying that the use of Beira harbor will create political stability of Malawi.
Banda, who is on a three-day visit to Mozambique since Saturday, toured the port on Sunday after holding talks with her Mozambican counterpart Emilio Guebuza on Saturday.
For Banda, it will be beneficial for Malawi to transport its goods from the Beira port than using other ports in the Southern African region.
For Banda, other ports are far from the landlocked Malawi. She said when she returns home, she will discuss the matter with her cabinet.
The executive director of the Mozambican publicly-owned Ports and Railways(CFM) center Candido Jone was also quoted Monday as saying that his company is ready open to Malawian intention to using the port.
According to him, the port is undergoing renovations and expansion so as it can be competitive in the Southern African region.
He said such expansion will allow the functioning of the coal, sugar, cotton and fertilizers terminals.
Jone is also quoted by AIM as revealing that between 2007 and 2011, the Beira port handled 11,660 metric tons of Malawian tobacco. In 2011 the port handled 8,705 tons, considered as the biggest volume the harbor has ever handled for Malawi.
Mkango Resources sees more broad zones of rare earth mineralization at Songwe, with grades of 1.4% TREO over more than 332 metres
Highlights of the five near-surface holes announced today include 15.3 metres of 1.9% total rare earth oxides (TREO) including yttrium, and 58.4 metres of 1.6% TREO in hole PXO17b, including 20.5 metres grading 2.0% TREO.
Hole PX019 returned 70.2 metres grading 1.1% TREO, and hole PX020 intersected 95.8 metres of 1.7% TREO, 48.0 metres of 1.5% TREO and 132 metres grading 1.3% TREO.
A total of 38 holes were completed in stages 1 and 2 for a total of roughly 6,850 metres, the company said in a statement. The results for the remaining 10 holes from stage 2 drilling will be released as soon as they are available.
Other notable results announced today include hole PXO21, which hit 100.8 metres grading 1.7% TREO, 54 metres of 1.6% TREO and 26.5 metres grading 1.4% TREO.
In addition, hole PX022b returned a whopping 332.7 metres of 1.4% TREO, including 82.5 metres grading 1.6% TREO and 27.0 metres at 1.8% TREO.
The company said that once all assay results are received, South Africa-based MSA Group will start an NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate on the project.
All holes so far from the stage 2 program have intersected broad zones of rare earth mineralization, Mkango noted, including zones of "elevated heavy rare earth enrichment."
The consistency of results to date is also "very encouraging", the junior miner added.
At Songwe, rare earth mineralization occurs at surface in broad outcropping zones of carbonatite on the northern slopes of Songwe hill and extends to a vertical depth of at least 350 metres.
Mineralization is open to depth and along strike, the company said, and there are known areas of additional carbonatite exposure within the Songwe vent system - meaning further exploration upside potential.
The project is also in an area of southern Malawi that is in the midst of ongoing rail, road and other infrastructure developments.
The Songwe Hill rare earth project is located within the 100 per cent owned Phalombe prospecting licence covering an area of 1,283 square kilometres in southeast Malawi. It is accessible by road from Zomba, the former capital, and Blantyre, the principal commercial town of Malawi.
Last month, the company also announced drill results from its stage 2 program, including hole PX006, which encountered 1.7% TREO over 30.4 metres on a vertical hole that tested an area to the west of main carbonatite zone.
Mkango says heavy rare earths together with yttrium comprise about 7-8 per cent of the total rare earths at Songwe but the value contribution is much higher.
The main rare earths it is targeting are neodymium, dysprosium, europium, terbium and yttrium, which it believes have the best long term outlook.
These metals are used to produce powerful magnets, a market forecast to experience high demand growth in coming years as iPads, hybrid cars, and other high tech products rely on these these rare earth elements.
The Malawian government is planning to invest $528m in rail infrastructure to start operations on the Mchinji-Chipata line.
Funding for the refurbishment project will be provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other financial partners.
Malawi's principal railway transport officer Justice Mtande told the Zambia Daily Mail that the Mchinji-Chipata railway project will not start until all rehabilitation work is finished.
"Currently, Malawi is investing in deplorable railway infrastructure," Mtande said.
Of the total amount, $8m will be used to improve the ageing railway network, which is very important to Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
According to Malawi Central African Railways (CEAR) civil engineer Paul Madula, the Mchinji-Chipata railway line will commence operations before the end of 2012.
The first cargo on the line is expected to be from Larfage-Malawi Cement, which has agreed to carry 5,600t of clinker, a material used for cement production, twice a week.
Image: The Mchinji-Chipata railway line is expected to start operations before the end of 2012. Photo: courtesy of Ferdinand Groeger.
MAPUTO, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Mozambique and Tanzania will be linked by a railway line which starts from the Tanzanian town of Mtwana in the south of the country to Mozambique, via Malawi, according to the Mozambican and Tanzanian governments.
The Mozambican and Tanzanian governments said they are working together to make the project a reality as quick as possible.
The line will serve to transport people and goods between the two neighboring nations, both members of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
The idea to build the railway line dates back since Mozambique achieved independence from Portugal in 1975. And the late Presidents Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Samora Machel of Mozambique had decided that the two countries must be linked through a unity bridge and a railway line, in order to foster further cooperation between Dar-Es-Salaam and Maputo.
A year ago, a unity bridge linking the two nations was already inaugurated at Negomano in the northernmost province of Tanzania by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete.
The two sides are currently working on the budget for the railway line, of which the construction work is expected to start in three years.
on September 26, 2012in South Africa
According to a technical report prepared in 2009 for the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), railway concessions in the region have generally been characterised by “declining performance”. The consequences it says are a deteriorating state of infrastructure as well as “massive retrenchments” and reduced business cooperation amongst railways in certain areas.
The report evaluated each of the railways that had been concessioned in the region to determine whether operational and financial performance had improved since concessioning. Reasons for failure to achieve expectations were examined.
Several factors were found to be common among those concessions whose performance was poorest. One of these was failure by the participating governments to enact enabling legislation and create a railway regulator prior to concessioning. This was found to be the case in Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi.
“To a lesser extent the same was true in Zimbabwe,” the report said,” but that concession is unique in its concession process. In the absence of enabling legislation and regulator, several concessions depended upon contract language to govern concession obligations. In most cases the contract language did not anticipate every circumstance and eventuality that might arise.”
Former Zambian finance minister Ng’andu Magande says he agrees with the Sadc report and applauds the government’s recent decision to rescind the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) concession.
He was quoted by The Times of Zambia saying: “Being at the centre of Zambia’s development, I realised that a weak railway system would frustrate the country’s development. Through Sadc ministers’ meetings and in my earlier life I had become aware that other regional countries had cancelled railway concessions for non-performance.”
The state subsidies to railways had been eliminated, but “as a result of the reduced capacity of such railways, some traditional rail traffic has since moved on to the road, causing immense damage to road pavements.”
BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) -- Malawi plans to break ground on a $1 billion new railway line in the country to ferry both passengers and minerals through the nation.
A statement from the president's office Wednesday said the line would be built by Brazilian mining company Vale SA. Vale currently has operations in Mozambique mining coal and some of that mineral will be shipped through Malawi for the local market, as well as to export abroad.
Malawi's presidency said the project will create more than 3,000 jobs.
Mozambique's government now is considering a $2 billion port and railroad line project to speed the nation's coal exports to the rest of the world. Officials say that the improved railroad will connect to the planned railroad running through Malawi.
Vale starts work on Nacala corridor
10 December 2012
MALAWI: Brazilian mining group Vale officially launched the construction of its US$1·1bn heavy haul freight corridor to the port of Nacala on December 6, when the President of Malawi Joyce Banda laid a foundation stone at Neno. The ceremony was attended by representatives from the governments of both Malawi and Mozambique, along with Vale director Galib Chaim and country manager Ricardo Saad.
The most direct route linking the Moatize mines in Mozambique’s Tete province with a new deep-water port near Nacala runs through Malawi. In December 2011 Vale signed a concession contract with the government of Malawi to rehabilitate and operate the existing railway and to build a new link to the western border.
Vale has already been undertaking detailed engineering of the new line in Malawi for nine months, and negotiating compensation for land acquisition. The 136 km line would run from Cambulatsissi through Chapananga to meet the existing Central East Africa Railways network at Nkaya Junction, requiring the construction of 45 bridges and three viaducts. From Nkaya, 99 km of the existing line leading to the eastern border at Nayuci is to be rehabilitated. Banda said construction of the line would require around 4 500 workers at its peak, of which 70% would be Malawians. Work is due to be completed in 2014.
As well as the agreement with Malawi, Vale formed a new joint venture with Mozambique’s state railway CFM in July 2012. Known as Corredor Logístico Integrado de Nacala, this will be responsible for upgrading the existing line from Nayuci to the new port at Nacala-à-Velha and completing the link from Moatize.
The governments envisage that the project will improve the railway’s capacity to handle conventional freight and passengers as well as the heavy haul coal traffic. Banda said that ‘transport costs constitute about 60% of the landed cost of goods in Malawi. If we are going to be competitive regionally and internationally we need to bring those costs down.’ She expected that Malawi would save more than US$120m a year in reduced transport costs. Vale will be paying the government US$8m a year in concession fees.
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