GABORONE, Botswana (miningweekly.com) – Coal-endowed Botswana has the potential to become a major energy corridor within the Southern African power pool, says Kalahari Energy Botswana group CEO Steve Martin.
Kalahari Energy, which is pioneering energy growth in Botswana through coal-based methane exploitation, operates the small 90 MW Orapa power plant and is in the process of developing a new 180 MW power project in the country.
Martin, who addressed the Botswana Resource Sector Conference, says that the Botswana government has already shown itself to be a facilitator of independent power producers and now needed to take the next step of positioning the country as a major Southern African energy corridor.
The State-owned Botswana Power Corporation, Martin adds, needs to transition from being a generator and buyer of electricity to being a significant regional energy trader.
Kalahari Energy works closely in Botswana with South Africa’s JSE-listed, majority-black-owned Exxaro, whose Danie Mouton urges that all the coal-mining companies working in Botswana should collaborate to provide the efficient, bulk-based essential infrastructure that is preventing the landlocked country from realising its full coal potential.
ASX-listed African Energy Resources head Frazer Tabeart says that Botswana is ideally situated to export power multidirectionally into the Southern African region.
African Energy is building the 300 MW Sese integrated power project, which is served by a captive low-cost coal mine.
CIC Energy president Greg Kinross reports that the business climate is beginning to change positively for the TSX-listed company, which has plans to generate power and export coal from Botswana.
Kinross adds that the company is ready to proceed with its plans once decisions are taken at government level on infrastructure provision and power price agreements.