The mighty motheo

Baitshepi Sekgweng
  • Project set to triple Morupule’s revenue to P3 billion by 2023

  • Initiative expected to spark country’s electric exports into life

Load shedding and power cuts could soon be problems of the past if the mighty Motheo Coal Project lives up to its billing.

Indeed, when fully operational, the open-cast mine, an expansion of the Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) which began blasting back in February, is expected to spark the start a new era in local power production.

It is hoped the project will play a pivotal role in helping the Botswana Power Corporation(BPC) realise its ambition of exporting electricity to South Africa and the rest of the region on a consistent basis.

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Since production began eight months ago, the initiative has thus far produced 60, 000 tonnes of premium coal and is expected to increase MCM’s annual production capacity from 2.8 million tonnes to 4.2 million by the end of the year.

By the end of 2023, it is predicted the project will have tripled MCM’s yearly revenue from P1 billion to P3 billion.

The mighty motheo
ADAMANT: President Masisi

Bursting with pride at the official commissioning of the Motheo undertaking in Palapye last week, President Mokgweetsi Masisi noted this was an initiative full of potential.

“MCM is the prominent source of energy feedstock for the production of energy locally by providing BPC with coal to meet the country’s electricity demands. BPC is now producing surplus power which is being exported to neighbouring countries and surely the Motheo Project will go in a long way in facilitating and consolidating the success of this development. We are surely on the right path to unlock our coal potential to meet our local energy needs and still supply global markets to fuel our economic growth.”

As it stands, Botswana are sitting on a comparative ‘gold mine’ when it comes to the black rock, boasting untapped coal reserves of approximately 212 billion tonnes.

The President further noted the potential for exporting coal is not restricted to Southern Africa, with current global energy trends indicating a steady demand for coal.

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According to reports, demand for coal in Europe and other parts of Asia, particularly India and China, stands at 50, 000 – 100, 000 tonnes per month, which aggregates to 10-15 million tonnes per annum.

Motheo Project, which is expected to be fully operational soon – efforts to get an exact date proved fruitless by the time of going to press – was founded on the back of this growing demand.

“We must fully exploit this resource to feed the emerging diverse markets to grow our economy and create more job opportunities for Batswana arising from the sure prospects of downstream supply chain operations and beneficiation initiatives,” stressed Masisi.

With the mine lifespan at 15 years (not meaning that coal will be finished), MCM has an ambitious plan to supply various markets with cumulative 7.6 million tonnes of coal per annum by the year 2027.

To date the project has created 3, 500 job opportunities since commencement, while 490 employees are still on the ground. Upon completion, the project will create 350 permanent jobs as it transitions into a full operation.

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