The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has cut the sod for the continuation of the Manso to Huni Valley rail line in the Western Region.
It will also include the conversion of narrow-gauge lines into standard ones. The Manso to Huni Valley line is approximately 78 kilometres, with a contract price of €500,000,000, will be executed by Amandi Investment Limited with funds from a Deustche Bank Credit Facility, and secured by government .
The project, expected to be completed within 42 months, would be on a standard gauge, and this forms part of the development and reconstruction of the entire Western Railway Line.
The western line, which starts from Sekondi-Takoradi to Kumasi, was constructed in 1903 and is the major route for the transportation of minerals and other bulk commodities such as cocoa, bauxite, manganese, cement, flour and petroleum products.
The development of the Western Rail Line is on course, and the 22-kilometre section of the line from Kojokrom to Manso is progressing steadily and scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
Speaking at the ceremony, the President cautioned individuals or groups of persons who are involved in stealing property of the Railway, especially tracks, to desist from such act.
According to him, the acts of these miscreants are thwarting government’s efforts in revamping the railway sector in the country.
“Apart from illegal mining, which is having negative impact on the development of right of way leading to high cost of construction, some unpatriotic saboteurs in our communities have chosen to stealing components of the railway system – including the tracks,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He added that: “The law will take its course when arrested, and the appropriate sanctions will be meted out”.
He noted that in recent times, the railway sector has received considerable investment, and government is committed to providing the necessary support to expand and modernise the Railway infrastructure to help improve economic activities.
Peter Amewu, Minister for Railway Development, explained that: “The Western Railway Line has a very huge potential in terms of the haulage of both liquid and bulk cargo”.
For instance, he said the projected annual volume of bauxite from the Awaso mine is about 5 million metric tonnes.
He also pointed out that an additional 5 million metric tonnes of bauxite are estimated to be mined and transported annually from the bauxite deposit at Nyinahin.
With regards to manganese traffic from the Nsuta mine, he mentioned that the projected annual volume to be hauled to the Takoradi Port for export is about 4 million metric tonnes.
“The development of the Western Line forms part of the first phase of the Railway Master Plan, and this is critical to the success of the Integrated Aluminum Industry that is being promoted by government,” he concluded.