SOMAFEL starts operation in Gabon

SOMAFEL – Engenharia e Obras Ferroviárias, S.A. (SOMAFEL) has signed an agreement with SETRAG – Société d’Exploitation du Transgabonais, a company belonging to the French group ERAMET, to carry out ballast correction and heavy mechanical tamping works for the Transgabonais railway in Gabon, a railway line 670 km long connecting the capital city, Libreville, with Franceville, further inland.

The contract is for three years and is financed by SFI – Société Financière Internationale, a member of the Groupe de la Banque Mondiale, by PROPARCO, a branch of the AFD (Agence Française de Développement), and by SETRAG itself.

The contract fits within the development strategy of the French mining and metalwork group ERAMET, which is aiming to develop the manganese and gold mine at Moanda, Gabon, one of the two best mines for these minerals in the world, with long-term deposits.

The preparation works are currently under way at SOMAFEL’s central site in Portugal, including the works needed to migrate the equipment being deployed from Iberian gauge (1,668 mm) to international gauge (1,435 mm).

During May, the necessary equipment will be transported to Gabon, and crews should be mobilised by June and works will start at the beginning of July, both 2019.

This makes Gabon the 8th market where SOMAFEL is currently active, alongside Portugal, Algeria, Brazil, France, Morocco, Mozambique and the UK.