Zambia to start forcing miners to move 30% of minerals by rail

Train from Tanzania to Zambia (TAZARA). (Image: Shutterstock.)

Zambia, Africa’s second largest copper producer, will begin enforcing a law that requires miners to transport 30% of their cargo by train, in a move aimed at boosting the country’s rail sector.

Mining companies have expressed their concerns about the rail system capacity, warning that the government has not properly considered the potential impact on the network.

Transport Minister Brian Mushimba said both the Chamber of Mines and individual miners were consulted before creating the new law, which was promulgated last month.

“Though, we acknowledge that consultation with the mines by the Ministry of Transport and Communications did occur, the mining industry’s position has been ignored,” said Chamber of Mines deputy chief executive officer Talent Ng’andwe according to Zambia Daily Mail. “The Copperbelt rail infrastructure in existence is in poor repair, lacks capacity, lacks adequate security provision and certainly lacks resilience.”

The country’s rail network currently has a mere 5% market share.