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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Mozambique railway mines cleared
Mozambique's Sena Railway, which has not been used for 20 years, has been cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance, says the US State Department.

The 670km long railway line connects Mozambique's main port city, Beira, with its resource-rich interior.

Renamo insurgents damaged the railway and laid mines in 1984 during Mozambique's civil war.

Before it was attacked the Sena Railway carried more than 2 million tonnes of freight every year.

The line also carried several hundred passengers daily.

Mineral rich

The US State Department invested some $13 million in the clearance project, which took just over two years to complete.

The Government of Mozambique believes that once operational, the railway will enable the country to tap into its valuable resources such as gold, copper and diamonds.

The government says they should be able to produce more than 10 million tonnes of high-grade coal annually thanks to the railway.

The benefits of the line are already being felt in Mozambique. Clearance of one section of the Sena Railway has resulted in the reconstruction of a concrete plant employing more than 500 workers. There is no indication when trains may start running again.

The line itself should create 2,000 jobs, according to the US State Department.

As well as serving Mozambique's transport needs, the line could also provide access to the sea for neighbouring, landlocked Malawi.

Mozambique is littered with landmines after 26 years of conflict, including a war for independence and subsequent civil war.

Country profile: Mozambique
12 Oct 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Mozambique
11 Sep 06 |  Country profiles

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