If everything goes according to plan, Masama Coal Project which is being developed by Botswana listed company, Minergy, will be operational by September this year. The company CEO, Andre Boje, said – on Wednesday during the mine site visit just outside Medie settlement in Kweneng District – that everything is well under control to develop the second coal mine in Botswana after Morupule Coal Mine near Palapye. He said they are just awaiting approval for a Mining License to commerce operations in an area of 63km2. The company has also established an office in Lentsweletau village where it will carry out some of operations such as recruitment of staff and others. The site visit included officials from the Department of Mines, Botswana Chamber of Mines and analysts who witnessed progress made by company to develop an open cast coal mine. The coal is expected to be used locally and internationally for a number of products such as cement and other products like fertilisers. Guests were taken to an open field where samples had already been extracted. The company intends to construct relevant infrastructure complete with access roads. The company has taken key steps towards operation and completed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) last year. It now awaits a Mining License. Once operational, Minergy through its Masama coal Project, looks to supply power utilities across Southern Africa as well as industrial customers. The proposed mine is believed to have a 25-year life span through open cast mining and so far the company has designed a five-year mine plan which is said to be unique as rehabilitation of the mine will be done as the operations continue without necessarily waiting for the period to elapse before rehab could take place.
Minergy is also building a washing plant which is expected to be commissioned in September this year and the management is confident that there is a capacity to transport about two million tonnes of coal per month out of the country. The company geologist, John Astrup, said the mine site five seams, however they would be looking at three seams which he said possesses high quality coal which is also close to surface which is another advantage for Minergy. He said they intend to mine over 80 million tonnes of coal during the five-year mining plan with a further 398 million tonnes potentially underground. During the site visit this week, Astrup showed the delegates of coal samples they managed to get from their site which he said are of high quality. Minergy, according to its executives, will take advantage of the existing railway line which links the south and northern parts of the country. There is also a rail line which links the Tshele Hills Fuel Storage Facilities to the major railway line and Minergy plans to take advantage of this railway line which is about 40 kilometres from its mine site. Minergy which wants to fast track the development of the coal resource in Botswana listed on the BSE in April 2017, and now aims to list on the London Stock Exchange sub-market, Alternative Investment Market (AIM) before end of this year. This will enable the company to raise more funds for its project. However, Boje has ruled out the possibility of issuing more shares on the BSE to raise more funds. The Masama Coal Project, which is expected to create employment opportunities for inhabitants around the Kweneng region, is reported to hold large tonnages of export quality coal which is suited for export to Africa, India, China and other parts of Asia where appetite for the mineral is believed to be still attractive. The company believes the Masama Coal Project has significant advantages, including being closer to the railway line rail and road logistical infrastructure which gives it competitive edge over access to markets.