The Democratic Republic of the Congo was the world’s eighth largest producer of copper in 2012. Getting it to market, however, requires a 2,200 mile journey by road. Scheduled talks between Congo and Angola railways might forge a way to make transporting copper faster and more efficient, according to a report in BusinessDayLive.
Decades ago, Angola’s Benguela railway line carried Congo’s copper. The civil war in Angola ended that in 1975, and the railway became unusable and in need of repair.
Angola’s Benguela line was recently refurbished, and representatives from the two countries plan to discuss how Congo might connect to the line and ship its copper to the Angolan port of Lobito.
Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC) and Caminhos de Ferro de Benguela (CFB) in Angola will meet to work out a technical and operational plan for the transport, said state-owned SNCC director of finance and investment Patricia Nzondjou Nzeale.
“To move towards the opening of the Lobito corridor, a meeting is expected in the coming weeks between SNCC and CFB in order to define in the short term the minimal conditions of starting up,” Ms Nzeale said on Wednesday at a conference in Lubumbashi, Congo. A meeting between the SNCC and the miners is also planned, she said.
While Angola’s Benguela line is already operational, Congo still needs $204 million to complete their side, since the government withdrew its $200 planned investment to focus on ‘other priorities.’ World Bank is providing grants to cover the other remaining $280 million needed.
SNCC is seeking private investors to help with the financing. Meanwhile, they are looking into the purchase of materials and equipment.
Once work begins on the Congo side, it’s expected to take four to five years to complete.