SELEBI-PHIKWE: Shumba Energy is in the process of developing a 2.5 million tons per annum open cast coal mine in Palapye.
The coal development company intends to tap into 2.45 billion tons of coal resource south of Morupule mine, the country manager Comfort Molosiwa has said.
He said the next mining activity will be in Shalakwe, 30 km north of Morupule where they have discovered one billion tons of coal resource and intends to develop a 1.2 million tons per annum coal mine with a mine-mouth 300 MW power station.
Molosiwa said these projects would boost the economy of Palapye given that they focus on the core business of mining coal and selling it.
The rest of other services such as transport, accommodation, catering and security services would be outsourced to local companies to tap into the spillovers.
Even transportation of the resource to the markets outside the country will be outsourced.
“Our target is to have the mines operating by 2021 and explorations are already complete.
After the environmental impact assessment approval by the Department of Environmental Affairs, we would then be issued with the environmental statement after which we can apply for surface rights to start constructing the mines,” he said.
Molosiwa said that is when negotiations to relocate people around the mining areas could commence and compensation be effected by them as developers.
He added however that once negotiations are complete and morafe agrees that is when surface rights could be granted so that they can apply for a mining licence.
The EIA for Shalakwe mine has been approved and Shumba Energy has already applied for surface rights for the colliery. The draft EIA for the power station and the servitudes for the power line has already been submitted.
“EIA for Morupule South project has just started and we are at a scoping phase for intensive consultations with the community around the area regarding their displacements.
The Shalakwe mine is underground so there would be minimal impact on issues of surface rights and we have excluded boreholes from where we would be mining. However, we would duly compensate in events of water pollutions,” he said.
He added that since the area is farming land, they have just applied for communal surface rights for Shalakwe project.
He said also because the Morupule South project would be an open pit, farms around that area would be relocated and they would engage stakeholders such as the Land Board. He indicated that the approval of Palapye Master Plan would facilitate these developments.
The issue of Palapye Master Plan is delayed by the fact that Palapye Development Advisory Trust is still in talks with the Ministry of Education to have brigade relocated back to the Vocational Training Centre to pave way for
PDAT executive secretary, David Jibajiba said the master plan couldn’t be approved while the brigade is still there adding that they have already spent P400, 000 on the master plan alone.
“The community had requested that we do a master plan and report back to them after its approval. We felt that the brigade has to move to pave way for developments in that prime area hence we are waiting for feedback from the ministry,” he said.
He explained that in 2011, Palapye community resolved that the brigade be separated from the Trust and handed back to government but land and other non education assets remained under the Trust.
Later on Palapye Development Trust was dissolved and advisory trust set up to inherit those assets for the community. Jibajiba explained that during the interim period of handover some members of the outgoing committee leased out land to some companies without the board approval which resulted in chaos and subsequent legal battles when PDAT took over.
He said those that were leased out land without authority include Access Works who were given nine hectares, Jus Posh who were given one hectare and Holistic Ventures who were leased five hectares.
Jibajiba said the court ruled that the board for trustees and affected companies go and negotiate which resulted in land that was leased to Access Works being reduced to six hectares and no change to the one leased to Jus Posh and rentals reviewed.
“We have now entered into 30-year renewable lease period with them after which the assets would then belong to the community,” he said.
PDAT wanted to apply the same methodology with Holistic Adventures, but deliberations between the two parties are still ongoing, as they did not agree on certain issues.
Other companies have already started their projects except Holistic Adventures.
In addition to the upcoming mines, authorities are planning to have a five-star hotel, golf course and a private hospital.
All these according to Jibajiba are already in the master plan including commercial and residential plots and that they are looking for potential investors for those projects.
“If we can get the approval of our master plan, then we would develop the land around the brigade immediately because we are already in consultations with potential investors,” he said.
The deed of trust has also been registered hence the Trust would be constituted in the near future and they intend to go back to the community to give them a progress report.
All these projects are geared towards realising the dream for Palapye to become a town.