Grindrod locomotives bringing Africa’s resources to the world
Five of Grindrod’s locomotives stationed in Freetown Sierra Leone have been deployed to haul iron ore from Tonkili Mine to Pepel Port. The New Tonkolili Iron Ore Project, recommenced operations in September last year by a privately-owned Chinese company. In a celebratory ceremony last week, the company announced its full-scale operation covering an area of 408 square kilometers with a resource capacity of 13.7 billion tons and equipped with a complete railway and port logistics transportation system. So far, Grindrod has hauled 18 trains and 113,400 tons of ore. Phase 1 of the project will be completed over 3 months and a total of 200,000 tons of iron ore will be railed. Grindrod is currently negotiating to deploy 8 locomotives for phase 2 of the project for the next 12 months.
In addition to providing the locomotives and performing maintenance, Grindrod is also running the train operations including providing drivers, planners, and controllers.
Some background on Grindrod locomotive assets in Sierra Leone:
Locomotives, owned by Grindrod, had been contracted in 2012 to haul Iron Ore from Tonkilili Mine to Pepel Port but at the end of 2017 mining operations came to a halt and the locomotive assets were no longer operational. In 2019, in a very complex logistical operation, 24- locomotives were shipped back to South Africa, many of which have now been redeployed. 10-locomotives remained stationed at Freetown Sierra Leone for future deployment.