Minergy reports progress on coal project

11 Aug 2019

BY PATIENCE RADISOENG

The Botswana Stock Exchange quoted Coal Company - Minergy Limited has announced that it will reach steady-state production by September this year.

The energy company which owns 100 percent of the 390-Mt Masama coal project in the Mmamabula area says the big-ticket items have been spent.

“These include ensuring the mine had power and water, and that the mine box cut and the processing plant were established. For the next six months all that we foresee is spend on water, new road construction and the maintenance of access and surrounding roads to the mine,” said the chief executive officer of Minergy-Morne du Plessis.

Morne du Plessis says they are pleased with developments at the mine site and about the future of the project which includes the highly experienced team responsible for executing the plan as well as their capacity to contribute towards a viable coal sector in Botswana.

However, the company did state that currently they are not focused on supplying coal to the power generation market but points out that a business case is developing with the shortfall of coal experienced by the South African power utility, Eskom.

“We have certain coal qualities that are perfect for power producers and this can easily be accessed and utilized in the future,” du Plessis explained.

According to a report from the group, Minergy has extracted roughly 39 000 tons of coal to date. In excess of 340 000 tons are exposed in the pit, which only needs to be blasted and put through the plant. This equates to roughly three months of feedstock. According to the mine plans, from August this year it is envisaged that Minergy will be mining 110 000 tons run of mine (ROM) per month.

The same quantities will be put through the washing plant and this should result in saleable coal of between 70 000 to 80 000 tons, increasing to 100 000 tons per month next year.

Despite extremely difficult access to funding, Minergy has successfully raised P90 million from the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) as well as from the Minerals Development Corporation of Botswana (MDCB). Thus the funding which is emphasized to be sufficient to bring the mine into production.

Thus far, project execution has proceeded very safely and there have been no reportable incidents since mine development began in September 2018.

Meanwhile Minergy is said to directly and indirectly employ in excess of 250 people, 92 percent of whom are local citizens. Approximately one-third is from the local Kweneng district.

Yet, the village of Medie was also due to get electricity in 2023/24 as part of Minergy’s corporate and social investment programme, it has paid for electricity connectivity to the village.

“We have a remarkable team in place who shares core objectives. These include that Minergy must in the medium term ensure stable cash flows, productivity, quality and product. There is blue sky opportunity for Minergy to increase production and supply the export market, but the building of the Lephalale rail link and export price are two factors that are outside of our control,” a statement from their report reads.