Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Energy News .

Africa scrambles to build export network for mineral resources
by Staff Writers
Mombasa, Kenya (UPI) Nov 8, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

These days, Africa's buzzing with plans to build railways, highways, pipelines and ports to get the mineral wealth from the states at the heart of the continent, like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans for export.

China, with its insatiable appetite for oil, natural gas and raw materials like copper and iron ore to fuel its ever-expanding economy, is behind much of this effort to develop export corridors eastward across the Indian Ocean.

Indeed, Africa's eastern seaboard is the main focus of this continental drive to accelerate the export of raw materials to a level never envisioned by the colonial powers that began plundering Africa in the 19th century.

"A competition is developing among several southern Africa nations to move minerals produced in Africa's landlocked regions to ports along the coastline," the U.S. global security consultancy Stratfor said.

"The prize for the competing nations is Katanga province, a mineral-rich region in the DRC, and Zambia's copperbelt province."

Katanga produces some 570,000 metric tons of copper and about 60,000 metric tons of cobalt per year.

Zambia, to the south, produces about 675,000 metric tons of copper annually. Between them they account for 7 percent of global copper production and roughly half the world's cobalt.

Right now, most of Katanga's output flows through South Africa and Tanzania, much of it by road to the port of Durban.

But mineral producers prefer rail transport, which is cheaper, and there's a plan to redirect much of this through Angola, along the refurbished Benguela rail line that fell into disuse during the Angolan civil war in the 1970s and '80s, and to Walvis Bay, Namibia, both on Africa's southwestern Atlantic coast.

However, this will depend on the DRC investing in repairs on its end of the Benguela line. The World Bank already has provided Kinshasa with $280 million for that purpose, and the rail operators are seeking private investors for $200 million more to complete the project.

Zambia has pledged to invest $1.6 billion to upgrade its rail system for a coastal linkup.

"Africa's geographic tragedy through the ages has been its isolation, which has long been among the main causes of its poverty" despite its vast mineral wealth, Stratfor analysts Robert Kaplan and Mark Schroeder said.

Despite long coastlines, Africa has few deepwater ports, and its network of great rivers is mostly unnavigable from the center of the continent to the Atlantic and Indian Ocean seaboards while the Sahara Desert in the north has blocked contact with the Mediterranean region.

Three of these projects originate in Angola, a former Portuguese colony that is now one of Africa's top oil producers. These connect to the southern fringe of Congo's vast rainforest.

The plan is to extract diamonds, copper and other precious commodities which have never been fully exploited because of the impassable terrain.

But it's the eastern seaboard that's the target for many of the transportation projects now under way or on the drawing board, and this is why China is so central to this emerging network.

Its imports from Africa go directly across the Indian Ocean into the South China Sea, where Beijing is building up its naval power to protect shipping lanes whose strategic value is increasing.

The Tanzam railway, built in the 1970s but currently in disrepair, carries a small proportion of central Africa's minerals 1,560 miles from Lubumbashi, the Katanga mining capital, to the Indian Ocean through Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's economic center.

Right now, the port can't handle large cargo vessels. But with a major offshore gas boom swelling in Tanzania and neighboring Mozambique, there are plans to expand eastern ports to deep-water status.

The Chinese are concentrating on Tanzania's Bagamoyo and the Japanese on Dar es Salaam.

Kenya, an emerging oil producer, wants the Chinese to build a rail line and a pipeline southeast to link the oil fields in South Sudan to a new port at Lamu on the Indian Ocean.

Beijing, which imports most of South Sudan's oil, has held back on making such a major commitment.

But with the growing energy potential on Africa's east coast, from the Horn of Africa down to South Africa, the proposed megaport, envisaged as a giant complex with 32 berths, three airports and a 1,000-mile rail network, remains a prospect.


Related Links
Global Trade News

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

China's October exports rise better-than-expected 5.6%
Beijing (AFP) Nov 08, 2013
Chinese exports grew faster than expected in October, data showed Friday, adding to signs the economy is picking up but analysts cautioned that global headwinds could still block any further improvement. The General Administration of Customs said overseas shipments expanded 5.6 percent year-on-year to $185.4 billion last month, reversing a 0.3-percent fall in September. It is also ahead of a ... read more

Emissions pricing and overcompensating

EU bids to revive carbon market on eve of Warsaw climate meet

Estimating Policy-Driven Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trajectories in California

Lithuania seeking 'swift' approval of EU grid connection funds

New technology can harvest 'lost' energy, create electricity

Shell 'manipulates Nigeria oil spills probes': Amnesty

Colorado vote against fracking to trigger more opposition?

Lebanon's gas boom-in-waiting goes into deep freeze

Wind turbines blamed in death of estimated 600,000 bats in 2012

Assessing impact of noise from offshore wind farm construction may help protect marine mammals

Windswept German island gives power to the people

When the wind blows

The Next Big Thing in the Energy Sector: Photovoltaic Generated DC Electricity

Big beats bolster solar cell efficiency

Understanding what makes a thin film solar cell efficient

Martifer Solar and Hanwha Q CELLS Korea complete PV project in Portugal

Fukushima plant readies for delicate fuel rod removal

Japan's Toshiba to buy British nuclear firm: report

Volume of nuclear waste could be reduced by 90 percent

Fukushima operator TEPCO considers split: report

Burning biomass pellets instead of wood or plants in China could lower mercury emissions

Scientists trick algae's biological clock to create valuable compounds

Crafting a better enzyme cocktail to turn plants into fuel faster

Chickens to benefit from biofuel bonanza

China shows off moon rover model before space launch

China providing space training

China launches experimental satellite Shijian-16

China Moon Rover A New Opportunity To Explore Our Nearest Neighbor

UN climate talks amid new warnings of dire warming

Greenhouse gas in atmosphere hits new record: UN

Two-degree global warming limit 'ever-more elusive': UN

Is global heating hiding out in the oceans

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement