Given the downturn in commodities prices across the continent, and the inaccessibility of key sites — Sundance’s Mbalam-Nabeba project straddles the border of Cameroon and the Republic of Congo and required the building of a 510-kilometer rail line – the Airship could offer relief and opportunity to the beleaguered industry.
Robert S. Stewart, head of mining firm Interop AG, has researched the ship’s potential impact on projects across the continent, including the largest — Rio Tinto’s putative $20 billion iron ore plant in Simandou, Guinea.
“The airship could save the project $7 billion by staging it in a completely different way,” he says.
Stewart believes the new design could bypass many of the most expensive and time-consuming aspects of mining.
“When you build a project in a remote area, you always have to start with a road, a railway line, and a power line before you build the smelter,” says Stewart. “With an airship you can fly straight in, without even an airport, just an area the size of two or three football fields.” http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/24/africa/superblimp-africa/