In a bid to utilise its abundance of untapped coal reserves, Botswana is currently planning to reactivate the Technobanine harbour project in Mozambique. The Techobanine harbour project which was originally agreed to by Botswana and Mozambique in 2010 was intended to provide Botswana with a route to the sea to allow it to export coal.
Recently, the Botswana Chamber of Mines Chief Executive Officer Charles Siwawa opined that “Botswana has an estimated 200-billion tonnes of coal.” Currently, the country has one active coal mine, the Morupule mine, owned by Debswana ÔÇô a 50/50 joint venture by the Botswana government and mining company De Beers.
In reference to the project, the minister of Finance and development planning Kenneth Matambo once said, “Botswana is a landlocked country and it is in our interest to take advantage of the geographical location of Mozambique to have access to the sea.
Over half a decade ago, there were reports that the rail link from Botswana’s coalfields in the east of the country to Techobanine would require the construction of 1 100 km of track. However, current reports state that the railway will be some 2 000 km long, although this might include refurbished existing tracks not mentioned in the 2010 reports. The project also necessitates the construction of a deep-water port at the Techobanine coastal village south of Maputo, in Mozambique.
It is also reported that coal-related infrastructure developments across Africa, such as coal-to-power plants, the Trans Kalahari Railway (TKR) project and/or the Ponta Techobanine project (PTP), should re-emerge once coal prices improve.
Several months ago, Mozambique and Botswana signed a Geology and mining agreement which amongst other things will give the former access to the latter’s expertise in this area.
Techobanine is currently a coastal village in the Matutine district of Maputo province, some 70 km south of Maputo city and only about 20 km north of the South African border.