SOMAFEL starts operating in Gabon

A SOMAFEL has signed an agreement to carry out the heavy tamping works in the Transgabonais railway in Gabon.

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

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

This contract falls within the development strategy of the French mining and metalworking group ERAMET, which intends to develop the manganese and gold mine at Moanda, Gabon, one of the largest two mines for these minerals in the world, with long-term reserves.

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

Also during May, the necessary equipment will be transported to Gabon, crews should be deployed by June and works will start at the beginning of July, all in 2019.

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