Collaboration between Transnet and Botswana Railways for the construction of a heavy haul railway line linking the two countries via Lephalale in Limpopo is on the cards.
The governments of both countries are set to sign an MoU after which a joint steering committee and a project team will be established to kick-start the project.
It was initiated ten years ago following a concept study that suggested that the most viable option to unlock the coal reserves from Botswana would be through the construction of this railway link.
“A number of Transnet railway expansion programmes that will feed into the construction of the Botswana rail network are at an execution stage while others are at advanced planning stages, including the upgrade of the existing railway line from Lephalale in Limpopo to Pyramid South in Pretoria,” said Transnet.
“This particular programme, which is in construction phase, is a step towards unlocking both Waterberg and Botswana coal.”
Chairperson of Botswana Railways, Adolph Hirschfeld, and Transnet chairperson Dr Popo Molefe agreed that an MoU between the two countries would cement collaboration that would see up to 80 million tons of coal per annum from Botswana railed for export and domestic use.
Molefe said that Transnet was ready to collaborate with Botswana Railways to make this project a success. “We will ensure that the South African railway system is capacitated to support both the unlocking of Waterberg and Botswana coal reserves.”