Lilongwe - Malawi has signed a $1bn deal with Brazil’s Vale
for the construction and rehabilitation of a rail line that will transport 18
million tonnes of coal from Mozambique, government officials said on Wednesday.
Vale Logistics, a subsidiary of mining giant Vale, will
build a new 138.5 km line from Chikhwawa in the south, to meet an existing line
at Balaka. It will also rehabilitate 98.6 km of the existing link between Nkaya
“Vale will invest about $1bn in Malawi over a period of
three years for construction and rehabilitation of the railway line and it is
expected to employ 4 500 workers, of which 70% will be Malawians,” Minister of
Transport Sidick Mia told Reuters.
The railway will have annual haulage of at least 5 million
tonnes of general Malawian cargo.
Distances can be cut in transporting Mozambican coal by
taking cargo through neighbouring Malawi. Mozambique has some of the world’s
largest untapped coal reserves.
“It’s expected that Malawi will be saving in excess of $120m
annually in transportation costs, and this has an overall effect of reducing the
transport costs of goods to and from Malawi by about 40%,” he said.