October 11, 2007 / 4:46 PM / 11 years ago

Congo signs railway deal with Korean-led group

BRAZZAVILLE, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Congo Republic signed a deal on Thursday with a Korean-led consortium to construct 1,500 km (940 miles) of new railways and renovate an existing 500-km line in the Central African state.

The deal, signed in the South Korean capital Seoul by Transport Minister Emile Ouosso, hands the Congo-Malaysia-Korea Consortium (CMKC) exclusive rights to develop iron ore, oil, gas and forestry concessions in north and south-west Congo near the lines.

Transport Ministry officials declined to comment on the value of the contract but media reports have said it is worth more than $3 billion.

CMKC, which includes Korean Railroad Corporation (Korail) and a unit of Korean steelmaker POSCO (005490.KS), will operate the railways for 30 years. Construction is due to begin in 2009.

A 1000-km line will link the capital Brazzaville with Ouesso in the country’s northwest, near Cameroon. A second route will link Djambala, in central Congo, to the Atlantic port of Pointe-Noire.

The consortium will also overhaul the existing Congo Ocean Railway Line (CFCO), built in 1934, which runs 515 km from the capital to Pointe-Noire.

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