Moru­plule mine to triple out­put to ab­sorb re­gional coal short­age

Zambian Business Times - - FRONT PAGE -

There is an in­creas­ing short­fall in the sup­ply of washed coal in South Africa, Zim­babwe, Zam­bia and Namibia Eskom needs 130-mil­lion tons of coal a year and they are strug­gling

Botswana’s sole op­er­at­ing coal mine will in­crease out­put almost three­fold within seven years as it eyes ex­port op­por­tu­ni­ties cre­ated by a short­age of the fuel that’s used to fire most of south­ern Africa’s power plants.

Morupule Coal Mine in the east of the coun­try will ramp up an­nual pro­duc­tion to 8-mil­lion met­ric tons by 2025 from 2.8-mil­lion tons now and is tar­get­ing ship­ments to South Africa, Zam­bia and Zim­babwe, Matthews Bagopi, the busi­ness devel­op­ment and strat­egy man­ager at Morupule Coal Mine, said in an in­ter­view Thurs­day in the cap­i­tal, Gaborone. The mine mainly sup­plies the 600 MW Morupule B plant nearby, but also ships to South African ce­ment-maker PPC’s slurry plant near Zeerust in the north­west of the coun­try, and Namibia Power’s Van Eck power plant.

“A lot of pro­duc­ers in South Africa are send­ing ev­ery­thing they are pro­duc­ing abroad,” Bagopi said. There are “se­ri­ous short­ages at the mo­ment, which can only get worse be­cause new mines are not open­ing up and those that ex­ist are de­plet­ing their re­sources and clos­ing.”

Eskom Hold­ings, which ac­counts for about 95% of South Africa’s power gen­er­a­tion, is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing short­ages of coal at as many as six of its plants and has is­sued a re­quest for pro­pos­als for the sup­ply of an ad­di­tional 100-mil­lion tons over five to six years. New mines

Morupule’s ex­pan­sion plans in­clude a new, open-cast mine near its ex­ist­ing un­der­ground op­er­a­tion that is due to be com­mis­sioned by the mid­dle of next year. The new mine will have name­plate ca­pac­ity of 10-mil­lion tons a year, though that level of out­put will de­pend on de­mand, Bagopi said.

Shumba En­ergy also sees sup­ply trou­bles at Eskom and the re­gion as an op­por­tu­nity. It’s de­vel­op­ing the Morupule South Mine, also an open­cast op­er­a­tion, that will pro­duce 1.5-mil­lion tons a year at full ca­pac­ity. Com­mis­sion­ing is sched­uled for 2019.

“There is an in­creas­ing short­fall in the sup­ply of washed coal in South Africa, Zim­babwe, Zam­bia and Namibia, CFO Thapelo Mokhathi said in a sep­a­rate in­ter­view.

“Eskom needs 130-mil­lion tons of coal a year and they are strug­gling.”

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