Mpumalanga's new coal railway line expected to ease road damage
The problem of coal trucks tearing up Mpumalanga's roads may soon come to an end following Eskom's announcement that the R5.2 billion Majuba railway line near Ermelo will start operating in the next two years.
The 68km railway, operated by Transnet, will connect the province's coal mines to Eskom's Majuba power station.
"Civil construction and earthworks for the development will be completed by the end of October this year. The line will be able to carry the first coal-loaded train on 31 May 2016," Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger said.
The project was expected to yield lower life-cycle transportation costs, improve coal-delivery turnaround times, and enable Majuba to access more coal sources than was currently the case.
Mpumalanga residents have been up in arms over the number of coal trucks destroying town roads, but Mpumalanga premier David Mabuza has assured them that the new railway will alleviate this problem.
During his 2013 state of the province address, Mabuza said numerous social and economic benefits would be associated with the project.
The mining town of Ermelo has been the most heavily affected with three national roads, the N11, N2, and N17 passing through the town. The N11 carries approximately 1000 trucks a day.
The Majuba railway has been designed to transport 14 million tons of coal yearly from the Goedgevonden, Vlakvarkfontein, Exxaro, Middelkraal, Kuyasa, and Shanduka mines.
The project received a R3bn loan from the World Bank and Eskom financed the balance.