Work to get started on Phase 1 of manganese rail line upgrade

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014

Transnet has issued a call for tenders for civils, earthworks and the construction of bridges and platforms for Rosmead, near Middelburg, as part of Phase 1 of the upgrading of the rail link between Hotazel in the Northern Cape and the Port of Ngqura and Coega Industrial Development Zone.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has granted environmental authorisation for the project that is part of Transnet’s plan to export 16 million tons of manganese a year through Ngqura, with the volumes set to increase later.

Currently, the railway line from the Northern Cape and port infrastructure in the Port of Port Elizabeth allows for ex-ports of 5.5 million tons a year, with Transnet now having to use other ports to export the ore in order to meet the demand. A total of R26 billion will be invested in the upgrading of the railway line, new manganese terminal at Ngqura and associated work.

The rail project involves the upgrading or extension of 25 of the existing loops, including Rosmead, on the line between Ngqura and De Aar and associated with this are other improvements including the upgrading or construction of access roads and new or altered level crossings and additional signalling.

In addition, according to documentation prepared for the EIA, the work will also include the recommissioning and electrification of the existing double section of the approximately 230-lilometre stretch between De Aar and Kimberley.

Transnet Freight Rail CEO Siyabonga Gama told Metro Minutes recently that the first ship was expected to sail from the Port of Ngqura laden with manganese in 2019.

The relocation of the manganese facility to the Coega IDZ along with the oil tank farm will allow for major changes to take place at the Port of Port Elizabeth with provision made for a small waterfront development linked to proposed developments around the Baakens River Valley area. - metrominutes