PALAPYE: Morupule South Resources (MSR), a subsidiary of listed junior miner, Shumba Energy, is rapidly advancing a P400 million coal project, with construction due to begin within two years.
The mine will be built on over 600 hectares of land around the settlements of Masuakoloi and Segakwane. The settlements are a few kilometres southeast of Palapye near Morupule Coal Mine (MCM).
MSR director, Comfort Molosiwa told villagers gathered at an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) meeting here this week that activities in advancement of the open cast mine were progressing well towards construction. He said while the area was estimated to contain 2.5 billion tonnes of coal, MSR was targeting the extraction of between 1.5 million and 2.5 million tonnes per annum. The only producing coal mine in the country at the moment, MCM, is producing about three million tonnes per annum.
“We are at the initial stages, and we anticipate that by the last quarter of 2020, we will start the mine’s construction,” he said.
“Once the approval of the ESIA is secured, the land authorities will be brought on board for negotiations with affected stakeholders over the issue of resettlement and compensation.
“That will be followed by applications for surface rights and consequently the mining licence.”
The open pit will require that at least 60 farmers are relocated, which will only be done after consultations and agreements with all stakeholders. Molosiwa told the meeting that once operational, the mine would employ between 200 and 250 people for its first phase.
Also, said the director, the mine would outsource its services
A representative of EcoSurv, which is conducting the ESIA, said the organisation would soon be visiting farmers individually and all businesses that will be affected by the mine.
Villagers at the meeting welcomed the developments albeit with concerns.
Lethogela Dick said he was happy because the mine’s development means more job opportunities for Batswana.
“We understand the mine will employ around 200 as mentioned, but as it grows it will obviously engage a lot more people and others will benefit from the spin offs. It’s a welcome development for the community,” he said.
Kemo Koronale of Serorome ward expressed concern that the project would swallow villagers’ ploughing fields, which she said was a threat to the culture of masimo.
“These developments are replacing our culture and soon we will not have lands to plough. Our grandchildren will not know about masimo and our tradition of producing food for ourselves,” she said. Kgosi Michael Maforaga advised the villagers to embrace positive change for the continued development of the village.
“For all the mines to be where they are, people were relocated to make way for those developments and Batswana are reaping rewards of those mines,” he said.
“We must accept that development is a destructive process, but it is for the good of the future of our village and the entire nation,” Maforaga added.