Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country are eying to export power generated from its vast coal and gas resources to neighbours South Africa and Zambia, an official has said.
Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Charles Siwawa said several companies in the country have secured power licences while others are in the process. Once fully operational the companies intend to export the power across borders.
“We have these IPPs that are going to produce power from the northern Botswana and export it to Zambia. The government of Botswana is also in negotiations with South Africa, through various departments, to actually export significant amount of power from Botswana amounting to 3700 megawatts,” Siwawa told the World Bank’s Botswana Mining Investment and Governance Review report meeting last week in Gaborone.
He said the local companies have been participating greatly in trying to tap into that energy market. Siwawa said there are also discussions and plans to fully utilise the country’s coal resources to generate fuel. He said there will be other downstream industries such as the fertiliser industries that could emerge in this country once the coal resource is explored.
“In terms of quality, our coal is comparable with the biggest coal producing countries like South Africa and Australia,” stated Siwawa.
Botswana has the second largest coal resource in the continent after South Africa amounting to200 billion tonnes and none has been commercially exported outside the continent. Siwawa said Botswana is set to utilise its gas reserves that have proved commercially viable.
Siwawa said the mining sector in the country offers great potential to investors both foreign and local. He said there are several financial institutions that are ready to support the development of the mineral sector in Botswana.
The CEO however pointed out that the performance of the mining sector in the country is rather lukewarm due to the low commodity prices across the globe.
Siwawa was optimistic that in future the price will pick.