Home » Congolese billionaire Paul Obambi to start $1-billion railway project in Congo Brazzaville

Congolese billionaire Paul Obambi to start $1-billion railway project in Congo Brazzaville

by Ishioma Emi

SAPRO Mayoko SA, an iron-ore miner in the Republic of Congo, has partnered with Thelo DB in a $1-billion deal to build a new railway track in Congo.

The project will link the southwestern town of Mayoko to a seaport at Pointe-Noire.

The partnership entails building a 412-kilometer railway from Mayoko to Pointe-Noire over the course of five years, Construction Review Online reported. After the construction is completed, the railway will serve as a medium through which 12 million tonnes of iron will be moved annually through southwestern Congo.

The companies will also rehabilitate an old 182-kilometer rail section as part of the construction phase. 

SAPRO Mayoko

SAPRO Mayoko is a subsidiary of Sapro Group, founded by Congolese billionaire Paul Obambi. It operates an iron-ore project at Mayoko, which it procured from the South African Exxaro Resources Limited in 2016. 

The company sold the enterprise due to its inability to secure port and rail agreements with the Congolese government, booking a $460-million write-down in the process. 

This made SAPRO the country’s first iron-ore producer and exporter offering premium iron-ore lumps when it shipped its first consignment in April 2019. Earlier, Bloomberg reported that Obambi was in talks with French lenders in 2018 to fund a railway that he was building to export iron ore.

SAPRO also has operations in 11 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia, with interests in oil and mining, consumer goods and media. 

Thelo DB 

Thelo DB is a leading railway maker based in Sandton, South Africa. It is an incorporated partnership between Thelo Ventures (Pty) Limited and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, represented by DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH.

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