Algeria railway deal will help China diversify iron ore sources

Algeria railway deal will help China diversify iron ore sources
Photo: Tindouf near Gara Djebilet mine / Creative Commons/Habib Kaki

ùmChinese construction workers are breaking ground in the desert to lay tracks for an almost 500-km railway link between the Gara Djebilet iron ore mine in the Tindouf province of western Algeria to the country’s national rail network at Bechar.

The deal is just one of 19 collaboration agreements valued at $36 billion, which were signed by Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in July 2023.

Algeria says the new railway will lead to thousands of new jobs and help the country diversify its exports beyond oil and gas. 

Experts say China’s interest in the project is driven by its desire to diversity its sources of iron ore, which is critical in the production of steel. China is the global leader in steel production.

China currently sources the majority of its iron ore from Australia. But relations between the two have soured in recent years. 

According to the Algerian government, Garda Djebilet is one of the world’s largest iron ore mines with reserves totaling 3.5 billion tonnes. China reportedly hopes that by building the railroad exports can soon follow. 

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