Australia’s Canyon Resources has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with rail operator Camrail to carry up to 5 Mtpa of bauxite from the Minim Martap mine in the north of Cameroon to the Port of Douala
Canyon is in a fortunate position, in that its mine is located just 50 km from the existing Camrail line, which runs 800 km from Ngaoundéré to Douala. Other mining projects in Central Africa have been held up because of the need to secure financing for new rail projects to carry their ore to international markets.
Canyon plans to export its ore from Douala in phase one, but wants to switch its exports to the newer, much deeper port of Kribi further south when a new railway is built to connect it to the Camrail line. Kribi will be able to accommodate much larger ore carriers.
In anticipation of Minim Martap being developed, Camrail – which is owned by Bolloré Africa Logistics – is already in the process of upgrading its railway tocope with far heavier loads by replacing or reinforcing the track and bridges.
Canyon hopes to export 5 Mtpa in phase one, the revenues from which will help it to finance mine expansion and possibly the construction of the Kribi line. However, the ownership and financing structures for the new railway have not yet been determined. If the line were developed as a multiuser project, Canyon would have to share the infrastructure but could also recoup some of its investment if it has to develop the line itself.
James Durrant, Canyon’s director of projects, said: “The finalisation of the MoU with Camrail is an important step forward as it details a pathway and timeline to complete commercial rail access and operational agreements for the Minim Martap project. This is another key step in the development of the project as it forms the basis for securing rail haulage for our bauxite.”
It is anticipated that the first ore could be shipped in 2023.