THE Government will re-engage the North West Railway (NWR) Company for a new way forward on plans to construct a railway line to link Solwezi to Chingola and eventually Angola.
Works, Transport, Supply and Communications Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said the Government would re-engage NWR chairperson Enoch Kavindele to revive plans for the project.
Mr Mukanga said in an interview that Government had opened up discussions but that they did not come to a conclusion, hence the need for the resumption of talks with Mr Kavindele so that the matter could be finalised.
“We believe that though it is a private investment, we as Government are the major stakeholder, so we need to link up with him and discuss it.
“We had opened up discussions but we never came to a conclusion, so we are waiting for him to come back to the ministry to ensure we finalise,” Mr Mukanga said.
One that was done, Mr Mukanga said the two parties would have to agree on the feasibility study that has been conducted so that Government would know how much it needed to look for.
He said Government believed that the feasibility study, which had been conducted previously, needed to be upgraded to enable concerned parties come up with the correct values.
“We cannot talk about values without a feasibility study. This will give us the way forward on how much is required to develop that infrastructure,” he said.
Sometime back, a meeting between Government, NWR and Congo DR where a detailed presentation on the project was rolled out took place in Lusaka.
Government and Mr Kavindele had engaged in serious discussions to chart the way forward on the construction of the project which has a possibility to extend link Zambia to Angola through to the port of Lobito.
Angola has since started building the railway line from that country which would go up to Jimbe where the NWR line is expected to connect.
The project is important for the country as it will open up North-Western Province to a lot of mining activities.
The province now produces large amounts of the country’s copper but there are no proper means of bringing ore to the smelters on the Copperbelt.