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Tanzania southern railway line starts

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DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA - The project that is meant to open up the exploitation and development of iron ore industry in Southern Highlands in Tanzania will next year be linked with the 850 kilometer railway line.
The construction of 850-km railway line project in southern regions that will link coal and iron ore projects of Mchuchuma, Liganga and Mtwara port  is estimated to cost $1.5 billion.
The government says the construction of the project meant to envisage cargo load from the mines would commence   after completion of negotiations between the government and investors in Mchuchuma/Liganga coal and iron ore projects.
Mr. Mr Athumani Mfutakamba, the Deputy Minister for Transport, told the Tanzania parliament that the negotiations between the National Development Corporation (NDC) and SICHUAN HONGDA Corporation would likely be concluded in July.
"I assure the assembly that the Southern railway line would be completed in time and mark the first serious start on the long trial of heavy industrialization through mining of the huge reserves of iron ore and using coal to generate 400MW power for this energy-starved country," said Mr. Mfutakamba.
Speaking with The East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam , analysts said the negotiation between Tanzania and the Chinese Government to start the infrastructure will help to push the project forward.
They  advised the government to take the project seriously due to the fact that it is expected to fuel the economy of Tanzania through electricity and job creation.
The Mchuchuma iron ore and Liganga coal reserves in southern highlands in Tanzania, hold not only the master key to bid good bye to the chronic power rationing, but the prospects of creating an estimated 40,000 direct and indirect jobs, spur iron and steel industrialization in Tanzania and to export coal.
This project will be the second biggest single operation since the 1970s when China built the $500 million the 1860-km long Tanzania- Zambia Railway line from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.
  The Tanzania Government banks on the Mchuchuma/Liganga project, to contribute between 20% and 25% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
The Mchuchuma location in south western Tanzania has proven coal deposits of 125.3 million tonnes near the border with Malawi and Mozambique.
 It also has proven iron ore deposits of 45 million tonnes in the Liganga area.
These are to be exploited jointly to smelt iron and steel and generate power while stimulating an iron and steel industry in a country whose income is agro-dependent.  
The projects, expected to start coming on line in 2012 with the construction of a power plant of 400MW, which although not enough to satisfy the country's electricity demand, will certainly reduce the power deficit.
 The Tanzania deputy Minister for Industry, Lazaro Nyalandu said last year the investor in the Liganga/ Mchuchuma iron ore project had set aside Tshs 10t (US$ 6.67b for implementing the project.
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