14 April 2008 - Botswana's minister of minerals, energy and water resources, Minister Kedikilwe, has told Parliament that he has received assurances of South Africa's commitment to the Mmamabla project, despite a recent agreement with French nuclear company, Areva.

MmamabulaThe minister said he had met with the South African minister of minerals and energy, and minister of public enterprises, and they had assured him that Mmamabula still featured as part of their plans to boost electricity supply.

"Last week I received a note from South Africa's minister of public enterprises proposing, pursuant to this undertaking last February to send a delegation to update me on the energy situation. I have invited him for a working lunch on energy matters on a date to be agreed," he told Parliament.

The Mmamabula project consists of a thermal power plant and coal mine. The plant, which is expected to come on line in 2013, after primary corporate partner, CIC Energy, revised the construction schedule due to long lead times on equipment supplies. The plant will supply electricity to both the Botswana Power Company (BPC) and Eskom.

Financial closure on the project is expected toward the end of 2008, and construction is expected to start immediately after. The first phase of the project is expected to generate 2 100 - 2 460MW.