After 34 years of suspension due to insecurity, rail traffic between the DRC and Angola resumed on Monday (March 5th), which facilitates the evacuation of Congolese raw materials to the Angolan port of Lobito.
For 34 years, the mines were forced to pass through the ports of Durban in South Africa and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to evacuate Congolese raw materials, which was very expensive in terms of transport and resulted in the shutdown of some mining companies.
“It’s the Luena coal mine that has completely stopped. As soon as it was reopened, the first to benefit was Kisenge manganese who had manganese ore, and stated to evacuated them,” said Al Kitengie, strategist and economic analyst.
Today, with the restoration of this rail traffic, the Congolese mining industry can achieve savings, that can exceed one billion US dollars.
“At the time of the great Gecamines [General Society careers and mines, note], we were on 450 000 tonnes of copper. Today we are at 1.2 million tonnes. And if today we have a short cut on Lobito, I believe we have savings that can easily exceed one billion dollars,” he added.
According to Al Kitengie, the biggest beneficiary of the reopening of this stretch, 1,300 kilometers long, is finally the local population: “Finally, they will have to evacuate their goods. Finally they will have to receive goods, usually manufactured goods, that can happen, including drugs. It will give back some economic activity and people will have to move.
According to several analysts, the other challenge is to maintain this railroad, but also to have enough cars to be able to transport the minerals.