THE North-West Rail Company has completed the construction of the demo unit in Chingola in readiness for the ground-breaking ceremony of the US$1.1 billion railway line by President Edgar Lungu.
Last year, the company submitted a concession draft to the Ministry of Transport and Communication, which has not been signed. The agreement is inevitable as it defines the relationship that would exist between North-west Rail Company, the financiers and Government.
North-West Railway chief executive officer Enoch Kavindele said the firm has already scheduled a meeting with the newly-appointed Minister of Transport Brian Mushimba to set a date for the ceremony.
Mr Kavindele said on Tuesday that the project is expected to run for 36 months and will create about 8,000 jobs during construction.
“We have completed the construction of demo unit in Chingola for the ground-breaking ceremony by President Lungu. Now that Minister of Transport and Communication has been appointed, we expect that the ceremony can take place soon,” Mr Kavindele said.
He said the company and its partners are ready to start the construction of the project and their hope is that Government will expedite the signing of the concession agreement documents.
“As far as we the developers are concerned, we have done everything to commence construction,” he said.
The railway line is cardinal in resolving the transportation hurdles faced by mining companies in North-Western Province and will involve the construction of about 580 kilometre rail line to link Zambia with Angola.
Phase one of the project will involve construction of the railway line between Kalumbila and Solwezi while phase two will run from Solwezi to Chingola.
North-West Rail Company and Grindrod Limited, a Mauritius firm, have partnered to develop the railway line and maintain a new 590 kilometers cape gauge railway from Chingola to the Angolan border.