Botswana And South Africa Tender 113km Rail Link

The estimated cost of developing the line is US$230 million.

By Liz Bains on
25th July 2023

Botswana Railways and Transnet Freight Rail are seeking to prequalify companies to fund and develop a 113km rail link between Mmamabula in Botswana and Lephalale in South Africa.

A request for expressions of interest was published on 14 July.

The deadline for submissions is 15 September. A pre-bid briefing was due to be held on 21 July.

The Mmamabula-Lephalale Rail Link project aims to unlock Botswana’s mineral resources by establishing a railway corridor connecting the country's mines to South Africa’s ports. 

A large portion of the corridor already exists in both countries and the development of the proposed rail link will complete it. 

A pre-feasibility study for the Mmamabula-Lephalale Rail Link is under way and due for completion in September.

A possible route has been identified for the 113km line, with 68.9km located in Botswana and 44.1km in South Africa, including a bridge over the Limpopo River.

The entire 68.9km in Botswana will be a greenfield development, while 17.1km of the track in South Africa will be greenfield and 27km brownfield, i.e. partially built.

The rail link
The Mmamabula-Lephalale Rail Link
(Source: Botswana Railways/Transnet)

Botswana Railways and Transnet intend to develop the link as a single project encompassing the work in Botswana and South Africa.

The line will have the capacity to transport 24 million tonnes a year of bulk commodities.

The estimated cost of developing the line is US$230 million.

Botswana Railways and Transnet are seeking partners:
•    to fund and produce a bankable feasibility report
•    to fund and develop the 113km rail link
•    to fund and supply rolling stock requirement

Plans for the Mmamabula-Lephalale Rail Link first surfaced more than a decade ago. The development of the link is now being accelerated as a bilateral project supported by the governments of Botswana and South Africa.

The tender documents can be viewed here.

Photo: Cargo train (© Data2203 | Dreamstime)

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