Monday, November 29, 2021

Botswana reaping fruits of well developed energy sector- Chamber of Mines

Botswana Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer, Charles Siwawa, said mineral exploration and beneficiation best practice in Botswana is a function of a well developed energy sector, vibrant long haul cross-boundary transport network and receptive investment environment backed by sound financials.

The Chamber of Mines chief said as energy remains, however, the driver of economic growth in the world, Botswana’s abundant coal resources estimated at over 200 billion tones (bt), Africa’s second largest would increase the uptake, with more exploration still taking place.

Siwawa told Sunday Standard that the energy industry has to commercialise the significant amount of about 13 trillion cubic feet natural gas enhanced exploration has uncovered.

“Coking-coal used for thermal electricity generation from Botswana compares favourably well with that from the region in terms of energy potential, 5 400 ÔÇô 6 000 kilocalories per kilogram (kcal/kg); 10 percent moisture content; 13 ÔÇô 20 percent ash; and 0.45 ÔÇô 0.8 percent Sulphur. Gas, renewables and refit energy have a place to play in the country’s energy market as there is abundant solar exposure for major parts of the years 2012 to 2013”, he said.

“A cursory browse at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) of which Botswana’s power general capacity interfaces shows realistic growth rate scenarios and electricity supply/demand of 4.6 gig watts (GW), 6.0 GW and 13.6 GW for the years 2017, 2022 and 2027, respectively.

“Currently, SADC has iinstalled capacity at 55 GW; peak loads should reach 77 GW and 115 GW by 2020 and 2030, respectively. But, new generation capacity is lagging behind targets based on the SADC generation mix of 74 percent coal, 20 percent hydro, 4 percent nuclear and 2 percent diesel.

“Rural electrification (RE) lags behind at 24 percent in comparison with the East African Power Pool (EAPP) and West African Power Pool (WAPP) RE statistics of 36 percent and 44 percent, respectively.”

Siwawa said in order to increase access to seaports in South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia, there is need to construct cross-country heavy haul railway lines; RSA 1000km, Mozambique 1200km and Namibia 1500km.

To beef Southern African coal logistics, SADC has renewed focus on transportation in the region to build up economies. Individual countries have committed larger percentages of their budgets to open up regional transport logistics in particular railways and ports, including electricity distribution. Through this holistic approach, international trade for other minerals and products can be realised.

Furthermore, an increase in primary mining activities has opened up beneficiation options for minerals such as copper, nickel, iron ore, to name a few.
Diamond beneficiation of aggregation enhancement through the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) has been due to the significant number of cutting and polishing factories set up in the country, of late. More so, the beneficiation of coal includes power generation, washing coal for the export market, destructive coal distillation for manufacturing carboniferous liquids and other agricultural products.

On the financial spectrum, Botswana with low taxes of less than 20 percent and 100 percent repatriation of profits, has huge capacity to attract financial investment rendering it the 4th in world as best destination for mining. The other foreign direct investment (FDI) lies in the fact that Botswana rankings among the top 10 percent in world the transparency league. The proposed relocation of DTC from London to Gaborone ups the investment prospects.

Botswana’s mining industry offering great potential to investors both foreign and local has benefitted from a stable government for 47 years since independence, Siwawa said.

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