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President Akufo-Addo led Government’s bid to revamp the country’s rail sector has received a massive boost following an agreement between mining firm, Ghana Manganese Company, and the Ghana Railway Company Limited for the rehabilitation of an important section of the dilapidated Western Rail Lines.
The $10 million deal will repair the approximately 15km Kojokrom to Tarkwa section of the Western Rail Lines and represents freight advance from Ghana Manganese Company to the Ghana Railway Company.
Mr. Joe Ghartey, the Minister for Railway Development, said at a news conference in Accra last week that the Kojokrom to Tarkwa line represents an economically viable and critical part of the 340 km Western Rail Line due to its importance to mining companies, one of which is the Ghana Manganese Company Limited.
He said $4.9 million will cover operational expenditure for the rehabilitation project, while $5.1 million will cater for capital expenditure.
The $10 million advance payment per the agreement will then be deducted from freight fees over a period of three years.
Mr Ghartey disclosed that even before the agreement, the Ghana Railways Company Limited had started the rehabilitation of the line, from Tarkwa to Nsuta, where Ghana Manganese is located.
ghananewsonline.gh has established that the project is expected to span seven months, but Mr. Ghartey is confident it may be completed within four months.
The Sector Minister disclosed that there has been a drop in quantity of manganese freighted for the Ghana Manganese Company by as much as 30,000 tonnes due to the poor rail line that has derailed.
Mr. Ghartey explained that as a result of the defective rail line, Ghana Manganese has to operate by road, adding that it is more expensive and also affects the country’s roads. He said “we want them to come by train.”
He stated that there will be a special committee, chaired by the Railways Development Ministry, with oversight responsibilities for the rehabilitation Kojokrom to Tarkwa project.
This paper has gathered that, work has already begun on the Western Line with about $40 million from the Railway Development Ministry’s total 2017 budget allocation of GH¢518.4 million.
Mr Oleg Sheyko, the Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Minerals Limited, which owns the Ghana Manganese Company in his delivery said although Ghana is rich in natural resources and skilled mining sector workforce, poor infrastructure has been a problem hence his company’s decision to support the rehabilitation project with the freight advance.
He said the agreement also forms part of the company’s quest to increase the export of manganese by 300,000 tonnes by end of this year.
“At the moment, we export by rail only 20% of our shipments and 80% by road, so when we rehabilitate the rail, hopefully, we will be able to double export by railway,” he said.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa