(Ecofin Agency) - Paul Obambi (photo), owner of the Congolese company SAPRO SA, seeks a loan from a French “consortium of banks” to finance a 450 km railway linking the city of Mayoko to a port in Pointe-Noire.
In a telephone interview with Bloomberg this week, he said construction of the railway, which will transport iron ore produced in Mayoko, is expected to begin in 2019 and completed in 2022.
For the record, the billionaire operates via his company SAPRO SA an iron ore project in Mayoko, acquired from Exxaro Resources in 2016 for $350 million. Following this acquisition, the company has so far invested $550 million in the project that produced 3 million tons of iron ore last year.
“We expect to reach 5 million tons by the end of this year,” Obambi said, adding that ores are shipped through the port of Pointe-Noire and a port in Owendo in neighboring Gabon.
With expansion plans in Mayoko (in 2013, Exxaro expected to reach an annual production of 10 million tons in 2019), Congolese iron ore production should be boosted, ranking the country in world's largest producers, Australia being the leader.