(Reuters) – South Africa’s state-owned freight company Transnet has signed a new deal with manganese miner South32 to export 2.6 million tonnes a year of the mineral to European and Chinese markets, the companies said on Thursday.
South Africa accounts for close to 75 percent of global manganese reserves, Transnet said. The firm, which operates nearly three-quarters of the African rail network, the bulk of which is in South Africa, provides rail export lines for the country’s main commodities including coal and iron ore.
Gert de Beer, Transnet’s new business development officer, said the firm will earn an estimated 10.4 billion rand ($880 million) from the seven-and-a-half year manganese export deal.
He said a total of 12.5 million tonnes of manganese will be transported every year once Transnet signs contracts with nine local manganese producers, including South32. Most of the mineral will be from the Northern Cape province and will be hauled on the Saldanha and Port Elizabeth ore railway lines.
Transnet said the contract with South32 will be back-dated, and will run from September 2015 until March 2023.
($1 = 11.8135 rand)
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; Editing by James Macharia)