THE construction of the much-talked-about railway line in North-Western Province linking Zambia to Angola seems certain following the investment of more than US$12 million into the project as the actual works start soon.
North-Western Rail Company chairperson, Enoch Kavindele said his firm had invested more than $12 million in the acquisition of various pieces of equipment for the crusher, railway track sleepers’ factory and a fleet of vehicles.
The project is estimated to cost $1.2 billion and will create about 8,000 jobs during the construction period and more than 3, 000 jobs after it is completed.
Mr Kavindele said this in Lusaka yesterday when he unveiled the fleet of vehicles bound for Solwezi in North-Western Province in readiness for the ground-breaking ceremony of the $1.2 billion railway line by the Government.
He said the railway line was cardinal in resolving the transportation hurdles faced by mining companies in North-Western province.
This will involve the construction of about 580-kilometre rail line to link Zambia with Angola.
“We have taken delivery of a crusher which we are now assembling in Solwezi as well as a rail track sleepers manufacturing plant. At the crusher we will employ about 100 local people,” Mr Kavindele said.
He said the rail track sleepers manufacturing plant would create about 327 jobs for the local people.
“With regard to the routes we have done about 65 per cent of the route the idea is that Government will introduce a Statutory Instrument (SI) stating that all heavy cargo should now use rail instead of roads this has affected the operations of the mines in North-Western hence the need for us to expedite our works,” he said.
Mr Kavindele said the mines were also not allowed to move their haulage of heavy equipment, inputs as well as outputs at night stating that his company was in a hurry to get the railway line operational.
“We expect to have three contractors that will be working on the railway line between Chingola in the Copperbelt to Saint Dorothy, another camp will be set up from Saint Dorothy towards Solwezi and from Solwezi towards Lumwana mine and Kalumbila mine,” Mr Kavindele said.
He said the rail line was important to the region as it would create jobs for the local people and help to reduce pressure on the Solwezi-Chingola road from damage as the transportation of copper would be done by rail.
Last year, Government indicated that it will acquire 30 per cent of equity shares in the North-West Rail Company.