PALAPYE: The pre-construction planning work for Morupule open cast coal mine (MCM3) is currently proceeding according to schedule although with minimal delays, a company official has said.
Ground breaking for the open cast mine, which will produce up to one million tonnes of coal per year, is expected to start next year.
MCM3 will be supplying coal to the Independent Power Producer (IPP) for the envisaged units 5&6 of Morupule B power plant.
The open cast mine will be located adjacent to the operating underground one, which produces up to three million tonnes of coal per annum. MCM business development manager, Mathews Bagopi told Mmegi Business this week that they are expecting to meet the timelines set by the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.
He encouraged those involved to do their part for the progress to be made. He said minimal delays were caused by the need to map out allocated ploughing fields, which are not fenced or marked.
“While the timelines for the project are tight, it is envisaged that these will be met. It is possible when we work together and all the parties involved are on the same wavelength.
“One of the key things that caused delays is that there are some people who do not know exactly where their ploughing fields are located while others are still not registered.
“People should engage with the Land Board and register their land,” Bagopi advised.
He further said the establishment of the open cast mine is planned for the Morupule/Mogorosane area and a two kilometre parallel buffer zone will be required around the mine for safety, health and environmental reasons.
He said it is therefore necessary to relocate farmers from the area.
“The groundbreaking will entail the removal of the top soil and other overburden to expose the coal seam using earthmoving equipment.
“It (the groundbreaking) will occur only after the relocation of farmers currently occupying land within the affected area.
“Farmers are advised not to plough in the area now. The past ploughing season was their last season to plough because if they do plough now, they might conflict with the groundbreaking as their harvest will be ready next year,” said Bagopi
He also said there will be no exposure to danger for people outside the demarcated buffer zone, hence MCM has not established any reason to relocate farmers beyond the parallel zone.
He acknowledged that during the groundbreaking dust might travel beyond the area, but the environmental impact assessment is still ongoing to measure the effect of the project.