Morupule Colliery mine is aiming to get the ISO 14001 certification?before the end of the year in a bid to meet international standards to export its coal to the international market.
The marshal plan spear-headed by the sole coal mine?s General Manager, Cletus Tangane, will also look at the possibility of beneficiation process and the likelihood of using? coal to manufacture liquefied fuel and gas.
The mine is by far the largest resource?if mined at the present rate, it can take the country some 15,000 years to deplete.
?Morupule?and Kgaswe have resources of 15 billion tones and if we mine at the present rate it will take us some 15,000 years to deplete it,? Morupole Colliery Mine?s Tangane said in an exclusive interview with The Sunday Standard.
The mine is working on an expansion plan which is expected to see the country being self-sufficient in power supply shortly after 2010.
Under the envisaged plan, the mine will produce 6000 mw or 3 million tones of coal by 2010 to generate electricity and thereafter increased by a further 6000 mw depending on the need of BPC.
?At the moment Botswana is importing 80 percent of its power from South Africa and, due to the power cuts that are being experienced in the neighboring country, the Botswana Power Corporation is likely to increase its tariffs by 400 percent this year. The first? increase was made? in December last year.
?I speak with confidence because the South African resources are getting depleted and the concentration will be on Botswana,? Tangane added.
Botswana has an abundance of coal measuring 2012 billion tones. And the Morupole ore body extends as far as Moiyabana?over some 60 kilometers west from where the mine presently is.
?We are also looking at getting the ISO 14001 by mid this year. That will enable us to produce clean coal so that we can export to other countries, such as Europe and China, because they will be convinced that our coal is environmentally friendly,? Tangane said.
?It is our intension to be the preferred supplier?and we have made some inroads into the region but our major impediment is transport. We slowly know that our markets are China and Europe,? he? added.
Morupule Colliery is putting up a P 87 million wash plant to reduce the sulphur?and? ash content? of coal by being washing them twice. That should make its products meet the required international standards.
Despite the fact that? it does not already meet the? domestic? demands, Morupole? is exporting coal to regional markets, such as DRC, Zambia and Zimbabwe and it is planning to expand across the region.
He said the focus of the study, whose results are expected out in June, is aimed at making his company into a power and beneficiation hub?to produce liquid fuel, plastic and gas and, if possible, metals used to build aero-planes. However, the downstream activities will have to be undertaken by companies independent from the mine.
?We need to see all coal beneficiation in Palapye and? continue to feed BPC. We also need a robust marketing strategy. What we have done is that we have gone out for an open tender and we should be having recommendations of all that we have done,? the Section Manager, David Kgobokwe said.
?For this to happen,? said Tangane, ? government has to concentrate on an enabling environment of private public partnership.? He added that other companies in the region, such as Sasol, do have the technology,?