Nacala Corridor Provides Route for Malawian Minerals
Blantyre – Sovereign Metals Limited, the company that explores rutile ore deposits at Kasiya in Lilongwe district in central Malawi, has identified the Nacala Corridor as its preferred route for exporting its mineral products to global markets.
The Nacala Corridor is a 912 km rail line built to transport coal from mines in Moatize in western Mozambique to Chipata in Zambia via Lilongwe to the port of Nacala in the Indian Ocean.
The corridor provides Malawi with the shortest and most direct access to the sea and to global commodity markets.
A study commissioned by Sovereign Metal Limited confirms that the corridor is “a reliable and efficient logistics infrastructure” for transporting the company’s rutile and related mineral products.
Sovereign Metals Limited Managing Director Julian Stephens said the potential and scale of Kasiya’s rutile deposits ranks above other titanium mineral products like ilmenite in terms of quality, and could provide a structural change in the pigment raw materials market.
According to the study, the transportation network is underutilized with only 15 percent of rail freight capacity operated while capacity utilization at the deepwater port of Nacala is only 41 percent.
“Nacala ranks among the most profitable and underutilized ports on the east coast of Africa, and it is also one of the closest to the Sovereign project area in terms of physical land distance.” said Stephens, whose company has a memorandum of understanding with Nacala Logistics for rail freight, port access and port handling services for graphite concentrates produced on its Malingunde project, also in Lilongwe.
Landlocked Malawi is traditionally served by the ports of Nacala and Beira on the east coast of Africa in Mozambique. The two ports are connected by direct road and rail routes connecting the Malawian commercial city of Blantyre in the south and Lilongwe, the capital in the center.
Sovereign Metals Limited has indicated that the port of Nacala is its preferred logistics route for the export of mineral products to world markets, while considering exports through the port of Beira as a viable logistics option given recent announcements of modernization of the Sena railway line which connects Beira and the province of Tete. (Moatize Coal Mine).
The results of the upcoming scoping study for the Kasiya project could increase the volumes of freight, port access and port handling services, adds Stephens who is happy to reduce rail freight costs.
“The Kasiya project benefits from access to a fully operational railway line and a Class 1 all-season watertight road network,” Stephens said, noting that from the rutile exploration license areas d ‘Within a radius of 75 km, the company uses the bituminous road network over a distance of 50 km. short distance to an intermodal rail at Kanengo in Lilongwe.
The exploration permit area also has the privilege of having an existing railway line that needs to be rehabilitated.
Stephens said: âSovereign is evaluating the possibility of establishing its own rail siding as a logistics option as part of the current scoping study to reduce transportation and potentially lower operating costs. “
The corridor infrastructure project was led by the governments of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, Vale, Mitsui, a consortium of several international and African banks and export credit agencies, including the Japanese Bank for international cooperation (JICA), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance and African Development Bank (AfDB).
Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, with support from the European Union, AfDB, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Export-Import Bank of Korea, have invested a total of around $ 758 million Americans in the development of the corridor.