Morupule Colliery Mine has been applauded for its coal washing programme, which is aimed at bolstering the quality of product as it also embarks on expansion plans to avoid possible future black-outs.
Speaking at the coal conference that ended on Friday, Obusitswe Seretse of the Department of Mines said there are a lot of benefits associated with the coal washing plant that will reduce chances of black-outs and improve the quality of coal.
“We are happy that Morupule Colliery Mine has taken the decision to construct a coal washing plant that will handle 30,000 tons per month,” he said. “There will be less impurities and Morupule coal is likely to be upgraded from 23mj per kg to 28mj per kg,” he said.
According to the estimations produced by the Department of Mines, the amount of ash will be reduced from 20.4 percent to 12.6 percent, while the amount of sulphur will drop from 1.60 percent to 0.50 percent once the plant is operational.
Morupule is one of the world’s biggest coal reserves with a total production of 1 million tonnes per annumÔÇöenough to take 15,000 years to be depleted if mined at the current rate.
However, the mine is positioning itself to expand in the next two years so that it can cater for 80 percent of the country’s electricity needs and to reduce reliance on South Africa whose mines are either depleted or have matured.
Further, Botswana has 212 billion tonnes of known reserves at Bobonong, Dutlwe, Foley, Letlhakeng, Mmamabula, Kgaswe, Dukwe, Moijabana, Letlhakeng, Serule, Pandamatenga, Ncojane, Lechana, Tshimoyapula, Takatokwane and Mmamantswe.
“Botswana has a huge coal resource which is enough to satisfy both local and regional markets,” Blessed Chitambira of the Department of Mines said.
Promoters of US $ 6 billion (P 34 billion) Mmamabula coal project indicated last week that they are pressing ahead with the application of mining license while at the same time working on capital raising. About 80 percent of the capital will be raised through debt to develop one of the biggest coal mines in the world.
The project will be constituted by a power plan of 243mw that would supply electricity to South Africa. Agreements between the two power organizations, the Botswana Power Corporation and Eskom of South Africa, have been worked out and they will be the key customers of power from Mmamabula project.
Mmamabula lies within the Waterberg coal belt and is less than 100 kilometers from South Africa. Further, the promoters of CIC Energy and the London listed International Power Corporation Plc have indicated that they will build a coal washing plant while at the same time investigating the possibility of coal-to-liquid to try to maximize the potential of the resource.
The construction of coal wash plant will enhance the quality of product and lessen the negative impact on the environment.