Bakgatla Ba Kgafela (BBK) Paramount Chief, Kgafela Kgafela II has revealed that his relations with the government of Botswana have almost normalised. The controversial Bakgatla Ba Kgafela kgosi on Tuesday professed that differences between him and Government have been settled.
Kgafela was responding to his royal uncle, Kgosi Nyalala John Pilane’s submissions during the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into Bakgatla dealings in Rustenburg on Tuesday. Kgafela had to let the cat out of the bag after Pilane scoffed at him demanding that he (Kgafela) return to Botswana and leave them alone in South Africa. He had challenged Kgafela to come back to Botswana and face his problems with the government of Botswana.
During his evidence in chief on Tuesday, Kgosi Kgafela rebuffed Kgosi Nyalala’s sentiments concerning Botswana before a three panel of Commissioners being Chairperson, Advocate Sesi Baloyi; and members, Advocate Mahumani and Professor Moleleki. Kgafela told the commission that, “Concerning Botswana issues, the trouble that I had in Botswana, of which I have told you that I had problems in Botswana. I had serious mathata there. It was my problem as a leader. It comes with the seat,” he said.
He went on to state that his great grandfather, Molefe had his problems and was banished and that his father also had his own problems. “I had my own problems with the Botswana government. It is between me and the Botswana government. It is not relevant to this commission. My problems with the Botswana government, have been solved. They are almost solved, all of them. You see, it is because it is Botswana issues. It is asked in Botswana, you must leave Botswana to Botswana, South Africa to South Africa. Otherwise we mix things and then we get derailed,” cautioned Kgosi Kgafela.
Kgosi Kgolo further argued before the commission that his uncle was demanding from him documents from Home Affairs concerning his citizenship. “And even then, I have said that issue of Kgosi Kgafela’s citizenship is not relevant to this commission, but in any event, it is a matter between me and Home Affairs. My citizenship issue is between me and Home Affairs. And I am a South African by birth,” he averred, adding that it is a birth right which no one can take away from him. “That is just how it stands. I have got my South African birth certificate. I am a citizen and this issue is not relevant.”
Kgosi Kgolo urged the commission to press his uncle to furnish him with the documents he is supposed to give him. The documents he said include among others, bank statements to see how billions of Rands were distributed. It was further Kgafela’s evidence that while he was in Botswana his uncle and his associates were using his name improperly to obtain money from a state owned entity.
He stressed that he as such has a personal interest to see how his name was used to whatever ends. He also said it was unfortunate that his uncle was asking him to produce bank statement regarding some monies he claims to have been sending to him while he was still in Botswana. He said, his uncle as the depositor of the money as he claims, should be in a position to produce that kind of evidence. “But he is not willing to comply despite the fact that he has long been asked to avail such kind of information and a lot more. He is in contempt. He doesn’t respect anyone. He doesn’t respect the law, including you Commissioners. And I have given up on that aspect.”
Kgosi Kgolo’s sentiments concerning his uncle’s attitude towards the law was shared by one of the Evidence Team Leader, Benny Makola. “The consequences of failure on the part of Kgosi Pilane to produce documents, in fact has resulted in this Commission not being able to conclude at least one critical element which in our respectful submission can be separated from the other terms of reference. There has been a lapse of seven months. We have not been able to do any work and I regret just like Kgosi Kgafela I have also given up on how to receive those documents.”
On his part, Kgosi Pilane who was represented by Moshanti Makgale of Setshedi Makgale & Matlapeng Attorneys told the Commissioners that he has received instructions that Kgosi Kgolo is not a South African citizen by birth and that he is born in the USA. “Kgosi Kgolo came to South Africa and he does not have any identity document that identifies him as a South African.
On that account Commissioner we submit to an extent that there is this order that is standing, he cannot appear before you.” He further said they have brought the documents they had in their possession and that whatever information they haven’t produced was because they could not trace them despite diligent search, it save for the minutes of the meetings that were held in camera. “Some meetings were held in camera, so we cannot avail such information.”
KGAFELA’S TROUBLES WITH THE LAW
Kgafela and 35 other tribes’ men were facing 17 charges of floggings in 2010. Kgafela then fled to RSA in May 2012 leaving his then co-accused to dance to the music alone. He failed to show up at court appearances whereupon the application for the warrant was made by the police. The warrant was handling some of his criminal charges, among them escape from lawful custody and unlawful floggings of members of the public in Kgatleng, which were carried out by his regiments, acting on his instructions.
It was this relocation to RSA that caused a fallout between Kgafela and his uncle, Nyalala Pilane. It is reported that Kgafela had unearthed issues of maladministration and misuse of funds after which he demanded an audit of the morafe books of accounts from Nyalala. To further infuriate Nyalala, Kgafela asked him to step down and vacate the Bogosi in Moruleng to him (Kgafela). At this point Kgafela had decided to stay in South Africa permanently. The move led to a sequence of disputes which developed to a chain of court cases before the South African courts and also the formation of the current commission termed ‘Commission of inquiry BBK’.
MINISTER TSOGWANE CONFIRMS
In an interview, the Minister for Local Government Slumber Tsogwane on Wednesday confirmed that it was true that Bakgatla Ba Kgafela chieftainship issue has been resolved. He was asked to comment on Kgosikgolo Kgafela’s point that his issues with Botswana government have been solved, and the minister’s immediate response was that, “yeah, he is right.”
But when asked if he meant that Kgafela could now come to Botswana freely, he said, “I don’t know about his issues with other ministries. Akere he had other issues with Kgathi’s ministry, which is Defence. They should speak for themselves. I am only referring to the issue of chieftainship as he had requested that we reinstate Bana Sekai as his representative here. And we did that recently because Sekai’s issues were also ironed out.”
The future of Botswana’s largest copper and silver operation, Khoemacau Copper Mining, looks promising as the new owners, MMG Group, commit to the mine’s expansion plans. MMG, an Australian headquartered company owned by China, has expressed its dedication to doubling Khoemacau’s production and transforming it into one of the most significant high-grade copper operations in Africa.
Nan Wang, the Executive General Manager for Australia and Africa at MMG, stated that while the immediate focus is on maintaining a consistent production level of 60ktpa, there are solid plans to increase Khoemacau’s production capacity. The company aims to double its production from 3.65Mtpa to 8.15Mtpa, resulting in an increase in payable copper from approximately 60ktpa to around 130ktpa.
To achieve this expansion, Khoemacau has completed a pre-feasibility study on the project and a solar power initiative. The next step is to conduct a feasibility study, which will pave the way for increased production capacity. Additionally, Khoemacau has identified extensive exploration opportunities across its license area, positioning the company for an exciting new phase of development.
The current Khoemacau operation reached full production and nameplate capacity in December 2022, following over a decade of investment totaling over P10 billion. This significant investment allowed for an intense exploration program, resulting in the development of the most automated underground mining operation in Botswana. The first concentrate was produced in June 2021, and the product entered the export market in July of the same year. Throughout 2022, the company has been working on the pre-feasibility study for the expansion project, with the feasibility study scheduled for the following year.
The expansion plans will involve the construction of a new world-class process plant in Zone 5, where the current mining of ore takes place. This new plant will be larger than the existing one in Boseto, which currently receives ore from Zone 5. The expansion will also involve the development of new underground mines, including Mango, Zone 5 North, and Zeta North East. These additional mines will bring the total number of underground shafts at Khoemacau to six. The ramp-up of production from the expansion is expected to occur in 2026.
Khoemacau, which acquired assets in the Kalahari Copper Belt after the liquidation of Discovery Metals in 2015, currently employs over 1500 people, with the majority being Batswana. The Khoemacau Mine is located in north-west Botswana, in the emerging Kalahari Copperbelt. It boasts the 10th largest African Copper Mineral Resource by total contained copper metal and is one of the largest copper sedimentary systems in the world outside of the Central African Copperbelt.
The mine utilizes underground long hole stoping as its mining method and conventional sulphide flotation for processing. Resource drilling results have shown the existing resources to have continuity at depth, and there are several exploration targets within the tenement package that have the potential to extend the mine’s life or increase productivity.
The Zone 5 mine has already ramped up production, and further expansion in the next five years will be supported by the deposits in the Zone 5 Group. The estimated mine life is a minimum of 20 years, with the potential to extend beyond 30 years by tapping into other deposits within the tenement package.
In conclusion, the commitment of MMG Group to Khoemacau’s expansion plans signifies a bright future for Botswana’s largest copper and silver operation. With the completion of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, as well as significant investments, Khoemacau is poised to become one of Africa’s most important high-grade copper operations. The expansion project will not only increase production capacity but also create new job opportunities and contribute to the economic growth of Botswana.
Khoemacau Copper Mining, a leading copper mining company, has recently announced its acquisition by MMG Limited, a global resources company based in Australia. This acquisition marks a significant milestone for both companies and demonstrates their commitment to continued investment, growth, and sustainability in the mining industry.
MMG Limited is a renowned mining company that operates copper and other base metals projects across four continents. With its headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, MMG has a strong track record in mining and exploration. The company currently operates several successful mines, including the Dugald River zinc mine and the Rosebery polymetallic mine in Australia, the Kinsevere copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Las Bambas Mine in Peru. MMG’s extensive experience and expertise in mining operations make it an ideal partner for Khoemacau.
MMG’s commitment to sustainability aligns perfectly with Khoemacau’s values and priorities. Khoemacau has always placed a strong emphasis on safety, health, community, and the environment. MMG shares this commitment and applies the principles of good corporate governance as set out in the Corporate Governance Code of the Hong Kong Listing Rules. As a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), MMG adheres to sustainable mining principles, ensuring responsible and ethical practices in all its operations.
Over the past 12 years, Khoemacau’s current shareholders have made significant investments in the development of the company. With approximately US$1 billion deployed in the project, Khoemacau has successfully transformed from an exploration and discovery phase to a fully-fledged operating copper mine. The completion of the ramp-up of the Zone 5/Boseto operations has set the stage for the next phase of expansion.
With the acquisition by MMG, Khoemacau is poised for an exciting new chapter in its development. The completion of a pre-feasibility study on the Khoemacau expansion and a solar power project has paved the way for increased production capacity. The feasibility study will be the next step in doubling the production capacity from 3.65 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 8.15 Mtpa, resulting in a significant increase in payable copper from approximately 60,000 tonnes per annum (ktpa) to 130,000 ktpa. Additionally, Khoemacau has extensive exploration opportunities across its license area, further enhancing its growth potential.
The CEO of Khoemacau, Johan Ferreira, expressed his gratitude to the current owners for their stewardship of the company and their successful transformation of Khoemacau into a fully operational copper mine. He also highlighted the company’s focus on the expansion study and its vision for the future with MMG. Ferreira emphasized that the partnership with MMG will ensure Khoemacau’s long-term success, delivering employment, community benefits, and economic development in Botswana.
MMG Chairman, Jiqing Xu, echoed Ferreira’s sentiments, stating that the acquisition of Khoemacau aligns with MMG’s growth strategy and vision. Xu emphasized MMG’s commitment to creating opportunities for all stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, and communities. He expressed confidence in Khoemacau’s expansion potential and the company’s ability to realize its full potential with the support of MMG.
The sale of Khoemacau to MMG is subject to certain conditions precedent and approvals, with the expected closing date in the first half of 2024. This acquisition represents a significant step forward for both companies and reinforces their commitment to sustainable mining practices, responsible resource development, and long-term growth in the mining industry.
In conclusion, the acquisition of Khoemacau Copper Mining by MMG Limited signifies a new era of investment, growth, and sustainability in the mining industry. With MMG’s extensive experience and commitment to responsible mining practices, Khoemacau is well-positioned for future success. The partnership between the two companies will not only drive economic development but also ensure the safety and well-being of employees, benefit local communities, and contribute to the overall growth of Botswana’s mining sector.
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has taken a significant step towards diversifying its energy mix by signing a power purchase agreement with Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village. This agreement marks a major milestone for the energy sector in Botswana as the country transitions from a coal-fired power generation system to a new energy mix comprising coal, gas, solar, and wind.
The CEO of BPC, David Kgoboko, explained that the Power Purchase Agreement is for a 6MW coal bed methane proof of concept project to be developed around Mmashoro village. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy in the energy mix. The use of coal bed methane for power generation is an exciting development as it provides a hybrid solution with non-dispatchable sources of generation like solar PV. Without flexible base-load generation, the deployment of non-dispatchable solar PV generation would be limited.
Kgoboko emphasized that BPC is committed to enabling the development of a gas supply industry in Botswana. Sekaname Energy, along with other players in the coal bed methane exploration business, is a key and strategic partner for BPC. The successful development of a gas supply industry will enable the realization of a secure and sustainable energy mix for the country.
The Minister of Minerals & Energy, Lefoko Moagi, expressed his support for the initiative by the private sector to develop a gas industry in Botswana. The country has abundant coal reserves, and the government fully supports the commercial extraction of coal bed methane gas for power generation. The government guarantees that BPC will purchase the generated electricity at reasonable tariffs, providing cash flow to the developers and enabling them to raise equity and debt funding for gas extraction development.
Moagi highlighted the benefits of developing a gas supply industry, including diversified primary energy sources, economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. He commended Sekaname Energy for undertaking a pilot project to prove the commercial viability of extracting coal bed methane for power generation. If successful, this initiative would unlock the potential of a gas production industry in Botswana.
Sekaname Energy CEO, Peter Mmusi, emphasized the multiple uses of natural gas and its potential to uplift Botswana’s economy. In addition to power generation, natural gas can be used for gas-to-liquids, compressed natural gas, and fertilizer production. Mmusi revealed that Sekaname has already invested $57 million in exploration and infrastructure throughout its resource area. The company plans to spend another $10-15 million for the initial 6MW project and aims to invest over $500 million in the future for a 90MW power plant. Sekaname’s goal is to assist BPC in becoming a net exporter of power within the region and to contribute to Botswana’s transition to cleaner energy production.
In conclusion, the power purchase agreement between BPC and Sekaname Energy for the production of power from coal bed methane in Mmashoro village is a significant step towards diversifying Botswana’s energy mix. This project aligns with BPC’s strategic initiatives to increase the proportion of low-carbon power generation sources and renewable energy. The government’s support for the development of a gas supply industry and the commercial extraction of coal bed methane will bring numerous benefits to the country, including economic diversification, import substitution, and employment creation. With the potential to become a net exporter of power and a cleaner energy producer, Botswana is poised to make significant strides in its energy sector.