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Congo Republic ships first iron ore from upgraded port
BRAZZAVILLE, April 19 (Reuters) - Congo Republic shipped its
first iron ore exports on Friday from a rehabilitated deep-water
port that will be used by Congolese billionaire Paul Obambi's
Sapro SA and Swiss commodities giant Glencore.
Sapro mined the oil-dependent Central African country's
first iron ore in 2017 from its Mayoko project in the southwest
and plans to reach output of 12 million tonnes per year by 2022.
Glencore's joint venture with British Virgin
Islands-incorporated Zanaga Iron Ore Co plans to ship 2
million tonnes of iron ore per year through Sapro's port and
rail link over the next two years, and 30 million tonnes by
Sapro, the Congolese government and British shipping company
Ashley Global are spending a combined $550 million on
rehabilitation to Pointe Noire's deep-water port, the Mayoko
mine and an old railway track connecting the two.
At a ceremony on Friday in Pointe Noire attended by the
mines minister, a ship loaded with 23,000 tonnes of ore set sail
for China, where it will be processed for a European buyer.
"We are heading towards more than a century of production,"
Iron ore prices are near their highest in two years, spurred
by growing demand from China and the collapse in January of a
dam operated by Brazil's Vale, which has cut into
Congo's economy has been hit hard in recent years by low
crude prices, which led its debt to balloon. It is currently
negotiating with the International Monetary Fund to try to
secure a bailout.
(Reporting by Christian Elion and Roch Bouka
Writing by Sofia Christensen
Editing by Aaron Ross and David Evans)
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