Electricity generation capacity is currently being improved to meet the demands of the mining industry; said the minister responsible for resources, Kitso Mokaila.
Mokaila, who was the guest speaker on Tuesday during the opening of Botswana Resource Sector Conference, said Morupule A is currently undergoing refurbishment while Morupule B is also being refurbished with plans to convert the latter into an Independent Power Producer (IPP). The minister said not only is the country looking to meet local demand, but also considering exporting into the region. He said water capacity will also be improved through privatisation but did not provide details on when that will happen.
Speaking at the conference, coal developers said the industry is faced with challenges which range from low commodity prices to logistical challenges. Managing Director of Shumba Coal, Mashale Phumaphi, said there is a huge power deficit in the region therefore presenting an opportunity for cross border-supply. Phumaphi, whose company’s flagship projects in Botswana include Sechaba Coal Project and Mabesekwa Coal project, said the last seven years have seen electricity tariffs rise by 300 percent in the SADC region, saying the increase is not even cost reflective.
Head of Power at Jindal - a developer at Mmamabula Energy Project in central Botswana – Neeraj Saxena told the audience that the coal industry is faced with many challenges. He said one of the major global challenges is availability of market with big consumers like China and India slowing down on coal importation.
Saxena added that transportation is also another headwind faced by the industry suggesting a dynamic pricing on commodities. “By dynamic I mean the pricing should be a reflection of the market,” he said.