Through a press release, the Ministry of Transport of Cameroon has announced that a new contractor for the construction of the proposed Mbalam-Kribi port railway, which is a part of the Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project, has been identified.
The Cameroonian Minister of Transport, Jean Ernest Ngallé Bibéhé, and his counterpart in the Ministry of Mines, Gabriel Dodo Ndocké, will therefore sign the memorandum of understanding relating thereto with the Chinese Austino Resources Group Ltd and its Hong Kong partner Bestway Finance Ltd before the end of the month.
Once the MOU is signed, the contractor will be responsible for the construction of a 510 km railway line connecting Mbalam, a place in Cameroon near the southern border with the Republic of the Congo where there are significant deposits of iron ore, to the Autonomous Port of Kribi (PAK), and infrastructural complex located off the seaside town of Kribi.
The railway project also entails the construction of another 71 km line connecting the Nabeba deposit in Congo to Mbalam.
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This railway is mainly intended to facilitate iron ore transportation from the mine to the port.
A glimmer of hope for the realization of the Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project
This announcement brings a glimmer of hope for the realization of the Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project. In addition to the railway line, the project also includes the construction of a mineral terminal facility at the Port of Kribi, capable of taking “China Max” bulk iron ore carriers of up to 300,000 DWT.
The project, whose agreement outlining the fiscal and legal terms as well as the conditions to be satisfied for its development and management was signed back in November 2012 by Sundance Resources Ltd (SDL) – the first developer of the project- and the Government of Cameron, has been delayed for several years now.
This is reportedly due to lack of funding and legal battles between the government and SDL following the ejection of the latter.