Mozambique plans $12-billion dollar schemes to overhaul its dilapidated railways and upgrade ports to boost exports from one of the world's largest untapped coal fields, an official said Wednesday.
The Ports and Railways company of Mozambique (CFM) said it was targeting four new and refurbished lines to transport coal from its northwestern Tete province to the ports on the Indian Ocean coast.
The deal would also involve the upgrading of existing ports and building of new ones to allow them to handle exports amid growing international demand for Mozambican coal.
"We estimate the cost will be around 12 billion dollars (9.3 billion euros)," said CFM's chief Rosario Mualeia said at Coaltrans, a coal industry conference in Maputo.
Before the end of the year a 500-kilometre (310-mile) track between the coal-rich Moatize basin and the coastal town of Macuse will go out to tender.
Another 700-kilometre (430 miles) link would be funded by a Chinese government loan, Mualeia said.
Meanwhile Brazil's mining giant Vale is pouring over $4 billion into the construction of a 900-kilometre line to the deep-water port of Nacala.
London-listed ENRC, which has a dozen mining concessions in Mozambique, will bank roll an alternate 1,070 kilometre (660 mile) line.
Mozambique's only existing 800-kilometre (500 miles) rail line linking Moatize and the port city of Beira can only handle less than three million tonnes of coal.
Former Renamo rebels blew up much of its rail network during a 16-year civil war that ended two decades ago.
The line is being refurbished so it can double that capacity by end of 2012, but with plans to expand that capacity to a possible 20 million tonnes in the future.© ANP/AFP