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Lobito Rail Corridor Concessionaire Maintains Contact with DRC Authorities

The concessionaire group of the Lobito Corridor is establishing contact with the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and with the National Society of Congolese Railways for the reactivation of the railroad that links the Katanga region, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the Benguela Railway. The European consortium is made of: Mota-Engil, Trafigura, and Vecturis.

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According to a press release, the Lobito rail corridor concessionaire is in contact with the DRC authorities with a view to developing the railroads in the DRC’s mining province of Lualaba. The Angolan Ministry of Transport announced on July 19th the concession of the Lobito Corridor to the European consortium Mota-Engil, Trafigura, and Vecturis.

The group competed against the alliance of Chinese companies CITIC, integrated by China International Trust and Investment Corporation, Sinotrans and China Railway Group. So far, the concession contract has not been signed.

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The process should be resumed and completed after the new government that emerged from the August 24th elections takes office

At this time, the European group’s moves, according to the Africa Intelligence website, are aimed at the requalification of the 456 kilometers of a railroad linking Luau, a border city in eastern Angola, to the Congolese city of Kolwezi, with which the 1,800-kilometer rail corridor between Lobito and the main copper and cobalt mines in the DRC would be fully reactivated.

As a result of these talks, says the publication, the European consortium and the National Society of Congolese Railways (SNCC, the French acronym) could soon conclude an agreement for financing and technical support for the acquisition of new locomotives and for the “rehabilitation of key sections” of the Congolese railroad between Dilolo (DRC/Angola border), Kolwezi and the important mining center of Tenke.

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The site also recalls that Kinshasa and Luanda have already signed a convention to allow the passage of Angolan wagons to the DRC and vice-versa, which presupposes only a change of locomotive at the border.

Contacts with Congolese authorities and SNCC were directly led by Eric Peiffer, co-founder of Vecturis, Alexandre Canas, Trafigura’s managing director in Angola, and Roberto Barbosa Vidal Ferreira, Mota-Engil’s development director, Africa Intelligence reports.

Trafigura’s involvement in mining projects in the DRC and the consortium that will manage the Lobito Corridor makes the rehabilitation of the Congolese railroad even more crucial to the company.

According to the report, mining corporations such as Ivanho and Mines, responsible for the copper prospecting mega-project “Kamoa-Kakula”, are among those interested in the reactivation of the 1800 kilometers of Lobito – Kolwezi railroad, the shortest route between an ocean outlet and the Congolese mines.

As a sign of this interest, Africa Intelligence reports, that this mining group has already sent a team to Lobito to acquire storage space in the Angolan port.

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(Featured image by Didgeman via Pixabay)

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First published in Africa 21 Digital, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Desmond O’Flynn believes in minimalism and the power of beer. As a young reporter for some of the largest national publications, he has lived in the world of finance and investing for nearly three decades. He has since included world politics and the global economy in his portfolio. He also writes about entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as innovation in fintech, gambling, and cannabis industries.