By DALE BENTON. March 24, 2018, 1:00 a.m. Botswana is "ready for investment", says the main coal miner
By DALE BENTON. March 24, 2018, 1:00 a.m.
Botswana will play a more important role in both the domestic and African coal industries, and the emerging coal mining company, Minergy Limited, is in an ideal position to become the supplier of choice for coal consumers in southern Africa.
With the reserves of coal in Botswana estimated at up to 200 billion tons, the country certainly has the resources to meet the expected growth in demand throughout Africa. In addition, with a support government that has a strategic focus on job creation, especially in the coal industry, things look optimistic for a country that has traditionally entrenched itself in the diamond business.
Andre Boje, CEO of Minergy, explains: "Botswana is a highly qualified investment destination in Africa, with a long history of political stability and a well-managed and stable economy.The government has been investing in infrastructure, including transregional highways, railways and airports, and has identified the export of coal as a significant opportunity. "
Speaking at the IHS Markit South African Coal Export Conference last month, Sadique Kebonang, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security of Botswana commented that the government's approach is to focus on the domestic use and export of coal, as well as the generation of electricity for domestic users. He added that the new coal export regulations, as well as the government's specific focus on investment and infrastructure are providing new life and growth for the industry in Botswana.
Boje echoes Kebonang’s views on the opportunities for Botswana coal, and is looking to the future, with Minergy expected to start mining coal from its site – a 390Mt (million tonne) opencast, low strip ratio mine in the Mmambula Coalfield, 50km north of Gaborone - in July 2018, with the first saleable coal available in September 2018.
Minergy's management team has significant experience in the development and operation of mines, with a wide range of experience in the coal and energy markets in Africa and internationally. Boje will be joined by Chief Financial Officer Morné du Plessis, President Mokwena Morulane and three recent appointments, each with considerable experience in the coal industry, has further strengthened the team.
Gabotshwarege Tshekiso, a mechanical engineer with more than three decades of experience in the mining industry, previously worked as Director in the Department of Mines, responsible for the offices of Gaborone and Francistown. Gabotshwarege was a member of the technical committee of the Board of BCL Limited and has a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering. In addition, Dutch Botes, a mining engineer with over 30 years of experience in coal mining, has been appointed technical advisor, while Lynette Kruger joins as marketing manager, bringing 18 years of experience in coal trading in the South Africa.
Boje continues: "The Masama coal project represents a great opportunity for the development of a small and medium-scale coal mine in Botswana, and during the production start-up phase, we expect to produce 1.2 million tons of coal. coal and will require approximately 300 employees directly and indirectly, as production increases, new job opportunities will be created.
"Although the new government in South Africa has made significant changes in the business landscape, coal investment is likely to take many years to produce new coal mines.In 2016, four million tons of coal were exported from South Africa to the continent. African, this figure is forecast to increase to 38 million tons by 2030, which represents a great opportunity for Botswana. "
After a listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) in April 2017, Minergy now plans to trade in the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the United Kingdom in the latter part of this year. The inclusion in AIM will help Minergy raise long-term capital funds to fund future growth and allow the company to reach its full potential with the Masama Coal Project.