FEASIBILITY studies for the construction of a fast freight railway line to connect Luapula and Northern Provinces to Lubumbashi in Congo DR will commence in September this year after signing a memorandum of understanding.
And Luapula Province Minister Nickson Chilangwa is elated at the railway project.
Luano Railway Development Project coordinator Wisdom Gondwe disclosed Thursday morning after his team made a presentation on the scope of the project to Mr. Chilangwa.
Luano is an acronym for Luapula and Northern Provinces.
Pastor Gondwe said feasibility studies were set to begin in September this year and would gobble over $2.5 Million.
He said he was positive his company would sign a memorandum of understanding with government especially that the project had the full support of the government through the office of the Vice President and line Ministries.
Pastor Gondwe said the project had fully been accepted by the office of the COMESA Secretary General, the Council of Ministers of the Great Lakes Region, SADC and the Zambian House of Chiefs.
“This project is supported by the Zambian government through the office of the Vice President, line Ministries, the House of Chiefs and King Mwatayamvo in Katanga Province in Congo DR. Our Traditional leaders Paramount Chief Chitimukulu and Mwata Kazembe are supporting this project. We are also grateful to both the Luapula and Northern Provincial administrations, ” Pastor Gondwe said.
He said his company would follow all the basic requirements for the Private Public Partnerships which was the stage at which the project was.
Pastor Gondwe said the construction project would gobble a total of $8 billion adding that the first phase would cover 460Km from Kasama (TAZARA) passing through Luwingu before connecting Mansa via Matanda and finally Lubumbashi.
He said the Luano Railway line would extend to Kolwezi in Congo where two big copper mines were operating while covering the Zambian side mining project by Kalumbila.
Pastor Gondwe said the railway line would be for fast freight cargo which would ensure fast delivery of the commodity at the Port.
He explained that at its implementation stage, the project would create 8000 rural jobs in both Luapula and Northern Provinces.
And Mr. Chilangwa said the government would always be willing to support projects like the Luano Development Railway system for economic development.
The Minister said he had requested the company to always give quarterly updates on inroads made before the actual implementation.
Mr. Chilangwa said he had invited the company to his office for him to get a brief of the scope of the project.