BRAZIL: The Ministry of Infrastructure announced on April 8 that Bahia Mineraçao (Bamin) was the sole bidder and winner of the 35-year sub-concession to complete and operate the 537 km section of the Ferrovia de Integração Oeste-Leste between Caetité and the port of Ilhéus. The auction was arranged through National Land Transport Agency ANTT.
Bamin has undertaken to invest R$3∙3bn in the project, of which RS1∙6bn will be spent on finishing construction work that is around 80% complete. It expects to start operations in 2025 using a fleet of 16 locomotives and 1 400 wagons.
Initial traffic is estimated at 18 million tonnes a year, rising to more than 50 million tonnes by 2035, requiring the rolling stock fleet to be more than doubled. Apart from iron ore and other minerals, cargoes are expected to include soya beans and soya products, cement, petrochemicals and processed foods.
The railway will serve nearly 20 towns and cities in Bahia state, including Ibiassucê, Brumado and Uruçuca.
The government is also hoping to let concessions for the remaining two sections of FIOL: the 485 km from Caetité to Barreiras, where 36% of work has been completed, and the 505 km from Barreiras to Figueirópolis, where a connection would be made with the Norte-Sul Railway; construction cannot start here until the Brazilian Institute of Environment & Renewable Natural Resources grants a licence.
Bamin is a Brazilian subsidiary of Luxembourg-headquartered Eurasian Resources Group which launched pilot production at its Pedra de Ferro open pit iron ore mine south of Caetité in mid-December.
The auction for the concession was launched by ANTT on December 16 and held in São Paulo during a week when the Ministry of Infrastructure was auctioning other transport projects to the private sector, including ports and airports.