NorthWest Rail Company Limited

NORTHWEST RAIL, ZAMBIA – “The Copper Railway”

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Grindrod has entered into a partnership with NorthWest Rail Company Limited (“NWR”) in Zambian which owns the exclusive rights to build, operate and maintain a new railway from Chingola in the heart of the old Zambian Copperbelt to the Angolan border. Once completed, this will re-open the Western corridor to Central Africa which was first established in 1929 by Sir Robert Williams. Over 2,000kms of new railway line would then link the Atlantic seaboard port of Lobito directly to the heart of the Zambian and DRC Copperbelt mining region.

The blue line shows the route of the Northwest Railway which will connect the Old Copperbelt to the Atlantic at the deep water port of Lobito

Phase 1 of the railway will run from the existing Zambia Railways terminus at Chingola through to the new Trident mine site at Kalumbila – a distance of 290 kilometres in total. The route will pass through the towns of Solwezi and Lumwana, and connect directly with the three copper mines at Kansanshi, Lumwana and Kalumbila.

In addition to the intermine traffic of copper concentrate and finished copper, the railway will service the mines with supplies and generate freight from the DRC at consolidation dry port hubs in Solwezi and the Multi-Facility Export Zone at Lumwana.

Aerial View of the proposed route of the last 50kms of Phase 1 alongside an existing power line wayleave cut through the bush

Phase 2 of the project will continue from Kalumbila across north west Zambia to the town of Jimbe on the Angolan border, where the railway will connect with a branch line from Luacano on the recently re-opened Benguela Railway. This second phase of Northwest Rail is expected to kickstart significant economic development in this remote area of Zambia which is rich in mineral and agricultural potential.

The total cost of the project is estimated at US$ 489 million (Phase 1) and US$ 500 million (Phase 2). A final feasibility study is being prepared for Phase 1 and construction is expected to commence before the end of 2014.

A section fo track already laid along the proposed route of Phase 1 near to the town of Chingola

The NorthWest Rail project will be supported by several of Grindrod’s rail services businesses, including rail construction, supply and leasing of rolling stock, and railway operations. When completed, this new infrastructure will significantly improve the freight transport axes into Central Africa, and will create employement and prosperity throughout the North Western Province of Zambia.

To enquire further about this project, please contact the Grindrod Rail office in Sandton, Johannesburg +27 (0)11 262 7300

Capital Projects Team

Tel +27 (0)31 302 7107
Fax +27 (0)31 302 7144


Physical address

7th Floor Grindrod House 108 Margaret Mncadi Avenue, Durban, 4000

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