With 300b tons of coal, diamond producer Botswana showcases energy prospects

source: MineWeb

A government-sponsored conference is showcasing the vast coal resources of Botswana, estimated at 300 billion tons, to demonstrate the nation’s energy-producing potential.

Author: Rodrick Mukumbira
Posted:  Friday , 29 Jun 2007

WINDHOEK –

Botswana, better known for its vast diamond resource, is showcasing its gigantic reserves of coal in the face is a growing energy crisis in southern Africa.

Twenty companies from India, Australia, the United States and neighbouring South Africa are among the 200 delegates in the capital, Gaborone, for a two-day government-organised conference designed to point out the sector’s potential.

The conference, which started Thursday with the theme “Botswana 2007 – The Awakening of the Coal Giant”, comes at a time the country is preparing to mine the Mmamabula coal deposits projected to be the next main energy source for the entire southern African region.

The Mmamabula Energy Project is a planned coal mine and a power plant with a proposed capacity of between 2100-MW and 2400-MW, and is considered a crucial project for meeting a looming electricity shortfall in the Southern Africa region.

“The abundance of coal in Botswana has been know for a long time but economics have in the past conspired against significant exploitation of this resource,” Permanent Secretary in the Mines and Energy Ministry, Akolang Russia Tombale, told the conference Thursday.

Tombale’s ministry estimates the country’s coal resource to be over 300 billion tons. The resource is greatly under-exploited with less than one million tons of coal mined per year. CIC Energy–the TSX and BSE-quoted company that is progressing the Mmamabula coal deposits–speaks of a global mineral resource estimate of approximately 2.3 billion tons at its project.

He added, “Emerging economies of China and India have led the growth in demand for coal internationally and present potential markets for Botswana coal.

“The increasing power demand in [continue reading]

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