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Zambia to invest $120 mln in key copper railway line

Reuters    Translate This Article
14 September 2012

LUSAKA (Reuters) - Zambia will invest $120 million to revamp a railway line linking Africa's top copper producer with South Africa to move transport from road to rail, its finance minister said on Friday.

Zambia exports the bulk of its copper through the port of Durban in South Africa, but most mining companies transport the metal by road because railway transport has been unreliable.

Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda told a media briefing that $120 million of the $750 million Zambia raised through a debut eurobond on Thursday would be spent on the rail line.

'The matter of investing in Zambia Railways is of top priority and of extreme urgency,' he said.

Increasing use of rail will reduce the amount of money spent repairing roads damaged by heavy trucks, Chikwanda said.

The government this week canceled the lease of the railway line awarded to private company Railway Systems of Zambia, accusing it of mismanaging the company.

Mining companies operating in Zambia include Canada's First Quantum Minerals, Vedanta Resources Plc, Glencore International and Barrick Gold Corp.

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