Morupule colliery has joined the beneficiation drive by opening an international standard coal washing plant at their operations in Morupule. The coal washing plant will improve the value of Botswana’s coal by reducing the ash and sulphur content of the coal and thus increasing the energy value or caloric content.
The coal washing plant has also been hailed as the mine’s response to the challenges of ensuring a clean environment as it will reduce the emissions of offensive gases like sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.
“As it is currently, the use of run-of-mine coal requires expensive processes that are aimed at cleansing off gases resulting from burning such coal before the gases can be released into the atmosphere,” said Minerals Energy and Water Resources Minister, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, when officially opening the plant. He also added that with the current world wide trends to cut on acid and rain gases and greenhouse gas emissions the pressure is on every company to reduce pollution, including the consumer.
The use of washed coal is time and cost effective as well as environmentally friendly as it reduces the pressure on the consumer to use expensive technologies to clean coal.
The Morupule coal washing plant has been engineered to recycle the water used to clean the coal and therefore helps to conserve scarce and precious water resources.
Washed coal is the way to go and it has generated appetite from consumers as compared to run of the mine coal. Information reaching The Sunday Standard indicates that Morupule colliery is already inundated with enquiries for purchases of the washed coal from prospective local and regional customers.
“This will grow your market base and make you competitive. This project couldn’t have come at a better time. It is just spot on and inline with your mine’s expansion plans,” commented minister Kedikilwe.
He added that the commissioning of the wash plant comes at a time when world wide demand for energy and coal in particular is growing at a huge rate with the attendant increase in prices achieved for that energy. Therefore, he said, the wash plant is perfectly timed to maximize the inflow of foreign currency into Botswana. “One is convinced that the operation falls under the right ministry and is driven by the right team that is dedicated to coal and its beneficiation,” said the minister.
The wash plant comes at a time when Botswana is embarking on a rigorous beneficiation of resources so as to add value and earn more revenue before they are exported. It has also been hailed as another milestone in the vision 2016 campaign which must stand alongside other projects, such as the Diamond Trading Company.
Stakeholders in the project included the Morupule colliery staff, DRA, Charlton electrical, Capricorn construction and Gear mining.
Kedikilwe said that the coal washing plant is a monumental testimony to Morupule colliery’s commitment to promoting beneficiation of the coal mined at the mine. He said that the dedicated efforts put into building the wash plant and ensuring that it is delivered on time to serve both Morupule and the industrial needs of the country should be lauded and appreciated. He said that despite the frustrations and deadline pressures that the team went through together with unfriendly weather conditions that they had to contend with the team managed to deliver the wash plant, which is of international standards within budget and on time.
”It is also noteworthy that the construction of this plant has contributed to increased job opportunities and new skills in Botswana,” he said.