Tanzania-Zambia railway authority resumes transportation of copper

LUSAKA, Dec 8 (Reuters) – The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) said on Friday it had resumed transportation of copper which it halted on Tuesday after unionised workers went on strike.

TAZARA suspended all train services, including the transportation of copper following a strike by workers in Africa’s second-largest producer of the metal.

“As unionized employees continue to stay away from work, we have mobilized management staff to run freight trains in the Zambian region,” TAZARA spokesman Conrad Simuchile said in a statement.

The line is an important route for copper exports from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa’s top producer, but the firm transporting the metal struggles to pay its workers, prompting strikes.

Simuchile said money to pay the striking employees had been secured and the firm was optimistic that the situation will be fully resolved by Monday.

In the 2015–2016 financial year from July to June, TAZARA’s annual total freight traffic reached 130,000 tonnes from 87,000 tonnes in 2014–2015.

The TAZARA railway is jointly owned by the governments of the Tanzania and Zambia on a 50-50 basis.

(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)