The broad-gauge lines, from Lucas do Rio Verde to Miritituba, and Açailândia to Barcarena, will support the transport of commodities to river ports in the north of Brazil.
Specifically the Lucas do Rio Verde - Miritituba line aims to improve the transport of agricultural goods from Mato Grosso via the Tapajós waterway. The project is expected to require an investment of Reais 9.9bn ($US 2.59bn) and the study includes technical-economic and environmental feasibility studies for the line and the terminal facilities.
The Açailândia - Barcarena section is a northern extension of the existing North - South railway from Açailândia to Anapolis and Estrela D'Oeste, and is expected to cost Reais 7.8bn to complete. Studies for a southern extension from Estrela D'Oeste to Três Lagoas were submitted in September, with each complementing technical feasibility studies for the projects already completed by the National Land Transport Agency (ANTT)
The projects are part of the revised PIL programme announced by president Dilma Rouseff in June which envisages Reais 86.4bn investment in rail infrastructure. Under the new plan, Brazil's National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) is able to provide finance at low interest rates for up to 70% of the cost of the projects as long as there is some private investment. The concessions will mirror those on the existing network where a single concessionaire is responsible for operating services and maintaining the line, deserting the previous open-access model which was unpopular with investors.
A team consisting of members of the Ministry of Transport's technical division, ANTT, and Valec will analyse the studies and hold public hearings ahead of the submission of the project for approval by the Court of Audit (TCU) after which the bidding process will commence.