Aviva Corporation Limited, the Australia, Botswana and London listed company, gave the markets the much needed cheery saying that its resources at MmamantsweÔÇönear MochudiÔÇöwill produce over a billion tones of coal.
The move comes at a time when the southern African region is in dire need of energy to power its economies.
In a statement released to the Australian Stock Exchange recently, the resource find is based on the information compiled by an internationally acclaimed expert based in South Africa.
“The information relating to Mmamantswe resource estimate is based on information compiled by Mrs. Cecilia Hatting, who is a member of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions and the Geological Society of South Africa (both recognized overseas professional organizations) and is a member and principal geologist at Rock and Stock Investments Pty Ltd,” the statement said.
The move comes in the wake of right option that was effected last month in a bid to raise A$ 5.35 million to bring cash on hand to A$ 26 million. It said the exercise was embarked on in an attempt to raise funds for the development of an integrated energy project at Coolimba in Western Australia and Mmamantswe in Botswana.
“A resource estimate for Mmamantswe based on the 2007 drill programme is almost complete,” it added.
The Mmamatswe concession areaÔÇö- which is some 110 kilometers north of Gaborone ÔÇö fell into the hands of Mawana Minerals (Pty) LimitedÔÇöa company owned by Paul Ramaloto and his family in 2006 after the discoveries made by BP in the 1980s.
And in April last year, he invited Aviva Corporation to a joint venture that would see the Australian company owning 90 percent subject to the fact that it covers full financial budget for prospecting up to a bankable feasibility study.
Since the marriage between the two companies in April 2007, 26 drilling holes have been made within the two concession areas that cover an area the size of 2000 km2. All the holes have shown the presence of coal.
The energy company targeted coal reserves of 600 million tones, enough to last 30 years.
“The next step would be to work on a plan that would take the resource to the reserve status. And that will start in March and it will take three months. We would be looking at coal that would last for 30 years with customers most likely to be southern African states,” the Chief Executive Officer for Aviva, Lindsay Reed, said.
The work will entail increasing the drilled holes from 26 to 80 which is hoped would enable the company to do a proper data assessment. So far, available records from the Department of Geological Survey indicate that the area has two different types of coal, soft coalÔÇöused for cookingÔÇö similar to that at Matimba and Grootguluk mines in South Africa and at a depth of 70 meters but, deeper, also has coal with similar rock characteristics to that of Morupule and Mmamabula.
Aviva comes at a time when the country is estimated to have coal resources of 200 billion ÔÇô enough to supply the power hungry southern African region which is at the initial stages of industrialization.
“We found Botswana to be very good to work with. Botswana has a wonderful reputation as a place to do mining.
“Southern Africa needs a lot of power and you need to secure a place for investment and Botswana provides for that,” Reed said in a statement recently.
The company is planning to start operation by 2010 and it is expected to be an open cast mine.
It further stated that some of the encouraging factors are that the site is closer to the highway, railway and high voltage transmission lines. The company is going to do the scoping report to determine the number of people who will be employed at the mine.