Bots to export power to SADC


Gaborone – Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) is planning to build a 300 to 600MW power station to generate power for export to the SADC region under its resource-development plan project.

MCM is wholly owned by Debswana, a 50/50 joint venture between the Botswana government and diamond mining giant, De Beers.

According to local media reports, the project is scheduled for completion end of this year.

Briefing Japan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, Yoshitaka Shindo, and his delegation during a visit to the coal mine on January 16, the acting commercial manager, Jonathan Vergeer, said the development plan project would also entail the mine’s optimisation and increase capacity from the current 2.8 million tonnes per annum to 4.2m tonnes per annum.

The project would also export up to 20 million tonnes of coal. The mine currently produces about 2.8 million tonnes of coal per annum due to a small market.

Vergeer said the country’s sole power supplier, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), was the mine’s main customer, taking about 90 percent of the coal for its power station.

He, however, said the corporation was currently unable to take that much because the new power plant was experiencing problems.

Vergeer noted that the power station was currently running on two units instead of the expected four units, adding that the mine increased its capacity in 2011 from 714 952 tonnes to 770 512 tonnes to cater for the power station.

Since Morupule B is still undergoing commissioning, BPC is unable to utilise 90 percent of coal. Morupule A power station has been switched off and placed under care and maintenance programme.

The mine has a workforce of 500 employees – 12 percent females and 88 percent males, while expatriates make only four percent

Most of MCM’s coal supply to BPC goes to the existing 150mw Morupule A Power Station. 

Meanwhile, South Africa has advised of its intention to gradually terminate power export to Botswana. This has prompted BPC to construct a new 600mw power station. 

MCM rose to this national challenge for power supply and executed its own Phase I expansion project that resulted in a threefold increase in installed capacity to 3.4mtpa.

The scope of the project covered infrastructural as well as capacity upgrades leading to the main ventilation system upgraded to 600m3/s, the introduction of two new continuous miner sections, an entirely new surface screening and crushing plant and associated auxiliary engineering and support infrastructure and services. 

MCM has successfully completed this expansion project and is poised to meet the nation’s demand for power through the supply of coal to BPC.

January 2014
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