Guinea’s iron ore: Vale launches reconstruction of the Conakry-Kankan railroad

200px-guineamap.pngOn February 22, Vale celebrated the laying of the first track of the Conakry-Kankan railroad, marking the start of the reconstruction of the main link between Conakry and Kankan in Guinea. In April 2010, Vale announced it would invest in Guinea’s Simandou, which will be the largest integrated iron ore mine and infrastructure project ever developed in Africa. Simandou’s first phase involves the development of the Zogota mine, with a dry processing plant, a dedicated railroad and a maritime terminal in the coast of Liberia, as well as a 100km rail spur connecting this railway to Zogota, in Guinea. The initial phase is scheduled to start production in 2012 and will have a capacity of 15 Mt/y. The project’s second phase involves capacity reaching 50 Mt/y in 2020, stemming from the development of blocks 1 and 2, and an additional rail spur connecting them to Zogota.

The reconstruction of the Conakry-Kankan is part of Vale’s commitment to the development of Simandou and Guinea’s economic growth. As part of an agreement with the government of Guinea, Vale is investing to refurbish the railroad, used for passenger and general cargo transportation between Guinea’s Conakry capital city and Kankan in the eastern part of the country. With the railway’s rehabilitation, Vale aims to contribute to the social and economic development of the West African nation, potentially creating several thousands of jobs.
The Conakry-Kankan line, run by the Office National des Chemins de Fer de Guinée, has not operated since 1983. The government’s goal is to rehabilitate the line in cooperation with Vale. The railway was initially built between 1900 and 1914 and had 45 stations. It plays an essential role by serving several towns and opening up the entire sub-region. 
With Simandou, Vale hopes to bring significant social and economic benefits to the Guinean population.