Motheo Project On Expansion

Motheo project ground breaking PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Motheo project ground breaking PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG

Coal and coal-bed methane (CBM) could provide interim solutions for energy security in Botswana’s transition to cleaner electricity, says the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi. Speaking during the Morupule Coal Mine’s Motheo Project recently, Moagi said the P1.7 billion open cast mine, known as Motheo, will add onto Morupule Coal’s existing 2.8 million tonnes per annum underground mine, which has been in operation since 1973.

The mine is funding the new one from its resources. “Coal and CMB can also create the investment funds necessary to fund the transition to renewables. Moving towards reduced carbon emissions will require significant funding and government also must provide energy security during the transition,” he said.

On his part, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said there are about 212 billion largely untapped coal reserves that Botswana sits on which require the country to take steps to sustainably use for socio-economic development.

He said the coal from Morupule remains the predominant source of energy locally as it feeds the Morupule A and Morupule B power plants to meet the country’s electricity demands. “Motheo expansion project will assist efforts to increase rural electrification and village connectivity.

We also anticipate employment creation particularly for the youth, which includes the development of an open cast coal mine, a coal handling, processing plant and associated supporting infrastructure,” he said. Morupule Coal Mine currently employs 735 people while the Motheo project has created 900 short-term jobs and about 350 permanent ones created during its full operation.

The mine is also supporting the local community’s small-medium enterprises in Palapye and surrounding areas said the President. He further said the government has developed an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and a Coal Road Map to guide efforts for the sustainable exploitation of the vast coal resources, through the use of clean technologies, while at the same time deriving maximum benefits for sustainable economic diversification and job creation. “Botswana is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and has signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The government has committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 15% by 2030. "Morupule Coal Mine drives a programme towards this national effort to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions from 45-kilotonnes per annum to circa 30 kilotonnes per annum, through deploying technologies such as electric utility vehicles in the mining areas from January 2022,” he said.

He added Morupule Coal Mine and the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) will set up a coal laboratory at the BIUST campus, which will analyse coal samples in-country and allow meaningful homegrown research on coal. He said the lab will be a backbone of research facilities into technologies that enable energy transition to renewable energy sources and cleaner usage of coal.

In April this year, Parliament adopted a Climate Change Policy, which promotes access to carbon markets, climate finance and clean technologies like solar energy. Through efficient and effective implementation of this policy, Botswana will ensure that the activities surrounding our coal mining will adhere to international commitments that aim to promote sustainable development.

Editor's Comment
Shame on the Police!

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