PALAPYE: The General Manager of Morupule Colliery, Albert Milton, says Botswana's coal is among the best in the southern African region and presents huge opportunities for future export opportunities.
Speaking at the launch of the mine's expansion project on Thursday, Milton said he hopes the country will be in a position to supply neighbouring countries with electricity once the expanded mine is fully operational.
Morupule Colliery has enough coal for both domestic and export demands. The colliery is expanding from mining one million tons to three million tons per annum in a project that will cost P1.5 billion. Milton said the resource would give Botswana an opportunity to diversify its economy.
Morupule Colliery boasts "an excellent safety performance" of no lost time injury since 2008, a rare phenomenon in the mining industry. The colliery supplies Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) with 53 percent of its coal and Botash 27 percent. Forty-three percent of washed coal sales are supplied to the domestic market, 42 percent to Zimbabwe, while South Africa,
Milton said the expansion is necessary because Eskom, which supplies 80 percent of Botswana's power, is scaling down its exports to Botswana due to increased domestic demand. The Morupule Colliery Expansion Project is financed by local commercial banks through a nine-year loan facility. The project requires P1.2 billion from the banks, P400 million equity from shareholders and P200 million generated internally.
The project entails the installation of a conveyor belt of 8.5 of kilometres to bring coal to the surface, a 21-kilometre underground pipeline for water and gas, 97 kilometres of electric cabling and 620 tons of steel. The management intends to execute the massive project at zero harm to people and the environment, on time and within the approved budget. Morupule Colliery is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Debswana.