Republic of the Congo has just joined the circle of iron-ore producing countries. The first train towing 20 cars containing 40 tons each of this ore stopped at the central station of Pointe-Noire, the economic hub on Friday.
This iron comes from the south western town of Mayoko, about 300 kilometres northwest of Pointe-Noire. It is produced by the Sapro SA Group.
The project is owned by Paul Obambi, a billionaire investor in the Congo Republic, according to bloomberg.
“Investment in minerals, energy, iron and oil can no longer be the exclusive preserve of non Congolese”, Obambi said.
Sapro acquired the Mayoko deposit in 2016 from the South African company Exxaro with an initial production of 3 million tons of iron per year. The company has a long-term production target of 150 million tonnes per year. It hopes to make Congo one of the world leaders in the sector. The tonne of iron is currently trading at $ 66.
“We are convinced that iron ore will regain its prominence by going back up in an average price of 100 dollars a ton”, he added.
Boosting output to that amount would place Congo among the world’s top iron-ore producers. The world’s largest, Australia mined 880 million tons in 2017 according to estimates published by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Exxaro sold the enterprise after failing to secure port and rail agreements with the Congolese government.
Sapro Mayoko SA will exploit the deposit for a century. According to its website, the company has operations in eleven countries in African, Asia and Europe. It has interests in oil and mining, consumer goods and media.