A $4.5 billion coal-to-liquid fuels, fertilizer and power plant planned in Botswana could raise the country’s installed electricity capacity by at least half, cutting reliance on imports from neighboring South Africa.
A statement released by Holland & Hausberger (Pty) Ltd, the technical partner on the project, United Refineries Botswana, through its Coal Petroleum Unit, and Johannesburg-based Kumvest disclosed plans to develop the project in Francistown. Once complete, the facility will deliver at least 304 MW of electricity to the national grid and produce 200,000 barrels per day of fuel.
“Botswana imports 85% of its energy needs and it would be a no-brainer to localize supply,” said Kumvest chairman Mandla Kumalo. Kumvest has provided an initial $3 million for the first stage of studies on the project.
Botswana is suffering from massive power shortages as power supply breakdowns and maintenance at the nation’s sole electricity plant forced it to run at about a third of its capacity. Electricity imports from neighboring South Africa were disrupted this year as Eskom Holdings, implemented rolling blackouts because of insufficient supply to meet its own country’s needs.
The partners foresee annual production of 300,600 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, which is a fertilizer used on crops, and 15,200 tons of sulfur. The companies have secured a site for the facility, completed economic and technical assessments, and obtained funding for a bankable feasibility study.
Morupule Coal Mine will open a dedicated seam to provide feedstock for the facility, which will require 4.4 million tons of coal annually, Hausberger said.