An independent unit of Debswana- Morupule Coal Mine’s (MCM) plans of becoming a regional and even international player in the highly competitive coal exporting business are slowly, but surely starting to pay off.BG Business has been informed that the company, which is based near Palapye, was recently awarded a ‘lucrative’ tender to supply NAMPOWER-a Namibian power utility with tonnes of coal that they successfully concluded without hurdles.
“This is a landmark work for us,” explained the mine’s Business Development Manager. Matthews Bagopi added it was for the first time that they exported coal to Namibia, a country that like Botswana still relies on external power. According to Bagopi, the successful delivery of 60 000 tonnes of coal (this month) to NAMPOWER clearly indicates the 35 year-old company is ready to take other regional players head on. The tender was a ‘once off’.
Bagopi will not reveal the amount of money they netted from the deal. The deal effectively means MCM joins Botswana’s listed coal miner-African Energy that recently made a breakthrough by exporting coal to Mozambique. ”This is the market that we want to capture in future,” said Bagopi, referring to Namibia. MCM currently supplies Morupule Power Station with coal.
In addition, the mine has clients in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi among others. In terms of capacity, the mine is ready to start courting international clients. Few years ago, the Debswana board approved a whopping P1, 4 billion funding for the expansion of Morupule Coal Mine. MCM, which operates an underground mine produces, over 3 million tonnes of coal per annum from the previous 2,6 million.
Speaking to journalists during a tour of the mine a few months ago, the outgoing General Manager Alton Milton pointed out that they would in the medium-term target the overseas market. However, it has now become very clear that they could not fully execute their overseas market ambitions unless the current railway lines between Botswana and neighbouring countries are completed.
“Our wish is to target the overseas market, but we are still faced with infrastructural challenges,” said Bagopi. A railway linking Botswana and Namibia (Trans Kalahari Railway) has been mooted, but it is still to take off. Another railway between Botswana and Mozambique is on the cards, which is expected to make the transportation of coal from Botswana much easier. Morupule mine used road to transport the 60 000 tonnes of coal to Namibia.