Africa will need to spend more than $50-billion in the next decade on building 4000km of additional rail infrastructure to unlock the bulk mineral resource potential that the continent holds.
Infrastructure will continue to be the main challenge in exploiting the continent’s vast deposits of bulk commodities, particularly iron ore, manganese and coal deposits.
David Humphrey, Global Sector Head Power & Infrastructure at Standard Bank says: “As mining activities in key regions expand, mining output is starting to exceed existing rail capacity despite ongoing efforts to upgrade and maintain these rail links.
Inadequate rail networks are limiting the economic potential of some of these commodity hot spots on the continent.
There is a lot of enthusiasm about new coal, iron ore and manganese discoveries in West Africa and Mozambique.
Despite this enthusiasm, the ability to fully exploit these recourses is limited by infrastructure constraints.”
The bulk commodity mining sector in West Africa and Mozambique in particular, which hold significant reserves of iron ore, manganese and coal, is expected to drive further investment in railways in these areas in the next decade.
However, governments face the challenge of overcoming legacy infrastructure problems.
Overcoming this remains vital for success, particularly when looking to enable complex projects.