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NRZ in talks with Chinese company over iron ore transportation deal

The National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is in talks with a Chinese mining company over the transportation of 2 million metric tonnes per year, of iron ore from Bindura to Beira.

The struggling state entity has since resorted to reaching out to companies moving large volumes of goods for business deals while awaiting the government to secure an investor.

NRZ board chairman and management led by Martin Dinha and Lewis Mukwada respectively, Thursday met with representatives from China Mining Logistics Holdings Company at the NRZ headquarters in Bulawayo to open a discussion on the deal.

Briefing the media after a closed-door meeting, Dinha said the Chinese were coming from large mining companies in China exploiting resources in Zimbabwe under the China mining group.

“They want to do an iron ore project in Zimbabwe and they want to us carry iron from Zimbabwe through Beira to China for their iron ore industry and later on they want to establish an iron and steel company in Zimbabwe,” said Dinha.

“So, they have come for initial enquiries, we are engaging them on initial enquiries and on a framework of how we can assist them. They want to exploit a minimum of 2 million tonnes per year. Their discussion (with NRZ management) is around whether NRZ has the capacity to carry that from Bindura to Beira. It’s a business opportunity for us but we require to recapitalise ourselves in terms of our locomotives.”

Martin Dinha, NRZ Board Chairman

Dinha added: “Our approach is that we are now chasing after the business. Anyone who has large volumes of haulage to be carried, in and outside Zimbabwe, we are going for you, we want to carry the goods for you.”

Mukwada could not be drawn into disclosing how much the company would benefit should the deal sail through.

“Suffice to say, we are still in the negotiations, we are just starting now,” said Mukwada.

“Of course, you do not apply standards rates when you are looking at volumes like that, there are volume discounts. As we talk right now, we do not have the capacity to move additional 2 million but the fact that there is additional 2 million on the table unlocks funding even the recapitalisation that we are talking about.”

NRZ, over the past year, managed to transport about 2,7 metric tonnes of goods, a massive decline from 18 million metric tonnes in 1986.

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