Johannesburg - South African logistics company Grindrod said on Monday it had clinched a deal to help build, operate and maintain a 590-km (370-mile) railway connecting Zambia's copper belt with the Angolan border at an estimated cost of $989 million.
Construction of the first phase connecting Chingola to the Kansanshi, Lumwana and Kalumbila mines is set to begin this year and will cost $489 million.
The 290-km line will carry existing ore and finished copper traffic.
“Phase II is intended to open up a direct corridor to Lobito, which would allow landlocked Zambia to import oil directly from Angola, and to stimulate further mining activity in the western copper belt region,” a Grindrod statement said.
Grindrod will be working with Northwest Rail Company, a Zambian firm granted exclusive rights to develop the railway in 2006.
Grindrod shares were up 2 percent at 25.84 rand at 10:23 SA time, outpacing Johannesburg's all-share index, which rose 0.2 percent. - Reuters