Morupule Colliery Plant manager, Mathews Bagopi, says the mine commissioning is in progress with an increased target of increasing production.
Located in Palapye, the coal mine is currently expanding operations to increase coal mining capacity to 3.2 Mtpa, upgrading coal conveyance and handling capacity as well as the ventilation system upgrade to 600 m3/s of air and upgrading coal processing capacity.
The colliery supplies Morupule Power Station with coal and currently Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is expanding generation capacity to 600MW to ensure that Botswana is self-sufficient in power generation.
Bagopi said the expansion project benefits include employment opportunities, 1,014 contractors, 485 additional employees post expansion. He said other business opportunities will be outsourced services and accommodation.
“We need to create partnerships with the communities and improve their lives in the areas of education, community projects, health services and environmental protection,” he said.
Bagopi further said the expansion vision of the future beyond current expansion is to explore value added opportunities to increase shareholder value as well as to develop additional mines MCM 2 and MCM 3. He said they want to export opportunities and further beneficiation of coal.
“Safety is our number one value, we strive to achieve zero harm through our risk assessments and Hazard identification processes and there has been no fatality in the last 10 years,” said Bagopi.
He said the business challenges at MCM are regional power supply shortage, skills retention and attraction as well as expansion complexities. He said coal consumption has gone high over the years and will continue to grow. He further stated that a lot of Australian companies have shown interest in coal mining in Botswana.
“Over the years, there has been change from conventional drill and blast mining to continuous miner technology. Production increased to 905,221 tones,” said Bagopi.
The equity and debt financing of the project is P 570 million equity from shareholders and P1, 200 million debt from financiers, adding that the project was financed entirely from local banks Barclays, First National Bank and Stanbic bank.