The landlocked country is currently experiencing a boom in the mining sector, more especially in the non-diamond sector. Mines which have been opened in the past few years include Minergy which mines coal in Medie village. Khoemacau has also opened a copper mine near Toteng in the North West district. Sandfire Resources is also expected to open a new copper mine in Gantsi sometimes next year. Vision Ridge Investment has also just opened a new iron ore mine in Ikongwe, central district.
SeaRail stands ready to facilitate the evacuation of these minerals via Walvis Bay. In a recent interview, SeaRail Acting Managing Director, Derick Mokgatle was buoyant that they are ready to take advantage of this boom, more so that these mines are targeting the export market. The company, which is a 100 percent subsidiary of Botswana Railways, runs Botswana’s dry port in Namibia. It has announced an intention to market itself rigorously within the county’s multi-billion Pula mining sector. “Sea Rail in collaboration with the Walvis Bay Corridor Group are planning a road show to tour all the mines in Botswana in February 2022 as well as to hold an information session in conjunction with the Botswana Chamber of Mines in Gaborone to promote the Walvis Bay route, “said Mokgatle.
Furthermore, the company is promoting the use of 50 000 – 60 000-ton bulk vessels through the port of Walvis Bay and working on solutions to transship ore from Botswana at Gobabis to be railed up to Walvis Bay. Botswana Railways signed an MoU with TransNamib in 2019 to develop a dry port facility at the Gobabis rail head. Botswana’s first iron ore mine, Ikongwe, has started production and has delivered its maiden exports to China. The company, which is owned by India’s Vision Ridge Investments said iron ore exports currently go via South Africa, in containerized shipments.
SeaRail believes that the Walvis Bay route can provide a more reliable and safe evacuation route for these exports. As things stand, the company has a 3000 square metre warehouse which has already handled copper enroute to foreign markets. “So far we have handled 2000 tons of copper through the warehouse and we expect to grow traffic for the dry port through this facility. It has attracted a lot of enquiries which will eventually turn into continuous anchor business for SeaRail,” disclosed Mr. Mokgatle. The Sea Rail Acting MD has told this publication that, though the COVID 19 pandemic disrupted the availability of containers they are promoting the use of bulk vessels for export of minerals.