SA, Botswana seal deal

Minerals and Energy Minister Bulelwa Sonjica signed the agreement with her counterpart Charles Tibone in Gaborone last Friday.

This follows a meeting held between the two countries two years ago.

Botswana is also experiencing problems in energy supply and according to Tibone the country can only generate 30 percent of the power it consumes.

In this regard, he said Botswana was encouraged by the quick response to its request on this matter.

Considered for possible development is the Mmamabula Coal-Fired Power Station, a site of immense coal deposits located close to South Africa.

It is approximately 90km from Eskom’s Matimba Power Station in Limpopo, minimising potential costs of linking up with South Africa’s transmission network Meanwhile, the agreement is to be supported by an inter-utility agreement between Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Eskom, to consider building the station.

This would entail conducting pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, as well as building a business case for such a station, to provide guidelines in terms of project investment, construction and operations, set out key rights and responsibilities for each party as well as principles.

It is envisaged that such a power station will be able to discharge 3 600MW of power once it is fully operational.

Once completed, the station will also be integrated into both countries’ power grid, particularly as Eskom is seen as the major power supplier.

Minister Sonjica said the event was a milestone in the growth of the relationship between the two countries.

“It will be critical for the CEOs of our respective utilities to ensure a speedy signing of the inter-utility MOU so that this process does not stall,” Sonjica added.

She added that a technical committee had to be set up quickly to drive the process.

“I am also happy at the prospect of the 3 600 jobs that can be created in the process because this will have a definite impact on the alleviation of poverty,” said the minister. ‘ BuaNews.

August 2006
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