Minergy Energy is poised to become the country’s latest coal miner after receiving a waiver to carry out pre-construction preparatory activities at its Masama coal project. Last week, the BSE listed company announced that the department of environmental affairs (DEA) has given them the nod to start bush clearing within the proposed mining area, construct access roads, preparation of plant areas, among others, ahead of the highly-expected mining licence grant in two months.
The company, which is headed by Andre Boje, is over the moon after they were given a provisional approval of its Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) from government which is expected to be final within the next four weeks, starting this Friday (today). In a statement to shareholders, Minergy said once the approved ESIA has been submitted to the ministry of mineral resources, green technology and energy security, the mining licence will be issued.
As per law, the minister, Eric Molale will issue the mining licence. All things being equal, the grant of the licence will make Minergy‘s Masama coal project the country’s second coal mine in operation after Morupule Coal Mine (MCM). Masama Coal project is located within the Kweneng District in a small village called Medie. Botswana Guardian understands that the company has already engaged stakeholders such as land boards ahead of the mining activities in the area especially relating compensations for those who will be affected.
Some people have also been hired at its Lentsweleau office. Giving an update on the Masama coal project more than a month ago, Chairman Mokwena Morulane and Boje were jointly quoted as saying; “Subject to the awarding of the mining licence and given the timelines outlined in the operational review, Minergy plans to have 250 000 tonnes of run of mine (“ROM”) available for processing through the washing plant by September 2018 that will produce 150 000 tonnes of saleable coal and thereafter 100 000 tonnes per month”.
The company, which is also planning a secondary listing in London, said that they have had numerous approaches to enter into off-take agreements with both regional end users and international coal traders which could elevate the required saleable product to an excess of 200 000 tonnes per month.
“The mine’s ability to service this increased tonnage will be dependent on factors such as the availability of capital for expansion and projected coal pricing to 2021,” said Morulane and Boje. The company said the envisaged coal mine will have access to rail infrastructure and roads, which can be used for transportation. The mining licence is expected to be for a period of 25 years. Botswana has over 200 billion tonnes of coal reserves which remains largely untapped.