Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) expects its expanded new mine to be commissioned next year, delivering an additional 1.4 million tonnes of coal per year to the region.
Known as Project Motheo, the expansion of MCM will target customers in Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
This week, the colliery’s project manager Lefika Moagi told BusinessWeek developments at Project Motheo were proceeding on schedule, despite the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on coal prices.
Coal prices have been under pressure throughout the year, as power generation globally has slowed in response to lower economic demand due to the impact of COVID-19.
Moagi said the Motheo project was moving ahead in preparation for the recovery of the coal market.
“We are busy with the infrastructure and erection of the plant then towards early next year we will be appointing a mining contractor who will come and open the box cut, their ramp and start mining operations,” he said. According to MCM’s website, the open cast mine being developed under Project Motheo, can
Locally, Morupule’s current production is mainly consumed by the adjacent Morupule power stations, as well as local manufacturers, hospitals, schools and others.
Moagi said MCM was also looking at other beneficiation options such as coal to fertiliser, gas and liquids. The latter, coal to liquids, is being done in collaboration with local parastatals.
MCM plans to increase its production to eight million tonnes by 2025 in order to tap into a widening regional supply gap. Botswana’s coal resources are estimated to be more than 200 billion tonnes and are said to compare favourably with other coal available in the market.
Experts believe strong demand for coal in China and India will allow Botswana to export coal onto the seaborne market over the long term.