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Botswana: coal mine construction at a stand still

In Botswana, a compensation dispute is causing delays to the construction of a coal mine, which has the capacity to produce 1.35 million tonnes of coal per annum.

According to developer Morupule Coal Mine (MCM), six out of the 166 farmers holding surface rights at the site location had declined to accept proposed compensation but that the company was trying to resolve the issue, Reuters reported.

Delays to coal mine construction

Citing the developer, Reuters noted that an estimated $20 million would be lost monthly due to the delay.

Adding that half of these losses were being shouldered by the government.

With efforts to be a self-generator by 2020, the country planned to develop a 300MW power plant, which would be supplied with coal from the proposed coal mine.

Power imports

According to Reuters, the government of Botswana has been forced to import electricity to make up for the power shortage.

“The country has one operating power station with a generating capacity of 600MW but the plant has broken down often since its launch in 2012, prompting imports from South Africa.

“The construction of a second, 300MW power plant has been delayed by a dispute with the contractors over a sovereign guarantee,” Reuters reported.

However, despite this development, earlier this month figures released by Statistics Botswana during the first quarter of 2017 showed that power generation imports decreased.

Comparing figures from the first quarter of 2016, Statistics Botswana indicated that electricity imports decreased by 63.9% from 523,736MWh to 189,052MWh, Mmegi Online reported.

This is due to the improvement in local power generation at Morupule B, whereby the plant is stated to be now producing more than half of its capacity.

“The decrease in imported electricity could be seen to be a result of increased production to reduce reliance on importation,” the stats company stated. Read more…


Featured image: 123rf

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.