Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)-listed Minergy Limited, a coal mining company, today released its inaugural final results for the year ended 30 June 2017, reporting a loss per share of 6,76 thebe.
The company embarked on a capital-raising exercise in the first quarter of 2017, raising BWP70 million via a private placement prior to listing on the main board of the BSE in April this year. Minergy CEO, Andre Boje commented that, “A lot of work had been done and continues to be done since inception. Our focus shifted to coal production for supply to the regional and export markets rather than coal for power generation. We believe the narrative around South Africa requiring imported power will not come to fruition in the foreseeable future, if at all. This is supported by the announcement that there a surplus of 9,000 MW capacity and that South Africa has signed off-take agreements with Botswana and other SADC countries.”
Boje added that a highly-experienced team had been brought on board to accelerate the process of refining and understanding the full potential of the Masama resource. “74 diamond core boreholes and 22 reverse circulation boreholes have been drilled, totalling 5,570 metres over an area of 147 square kilometres. From this a revised Competent Persons Report (CPR)1 is being finalised, mine plans are in place, markets have been identified and off-take agreements are being discussed.”
Boje commented that the various requirements and obligations relating to the submission of a mining license application are also being attended to, with the target date for submission being the end of September 2017. “We’ve engaged extensively with the various government departments and the response has been most encouraging, leading us to believe that the license should be granted by the second quarter of 2018.” Requests for information (RFI) have been issued to identify qualified suppliers of the processing and wash plant and for mining contractor. This process is expected to be complete by the end of October 2017.
Talking about the industry, Boje said that “Renewable energy has a role to play however has been proven unreliable for base load electricity supply, with the only alternatives being nuclear, hydro and coal. “Nuclear is prohibitively capital intensive, hydro is hamstrung by global water shortages, which leaves coal-fired power generation. In addition, a large volume of coal continues to be used in numerous industrial processes other than power generation. Many of these processes are dependent on coal with no practical substitutes,” said Boje.
This is the first year that the group expensed certain operating expenditures, which were mostly incurred at the holding company level, which acts as an investment and holding company and sources funding for the group. Cash utilised in operations amounted to a loss of BWP9,4m million, with Exploration and Evaluation Asset Expenditure also showing a loss of BWP5,6 million.
In total BWP72 million was raised via the private and public placement of shares, with the cash being used to finance operational expenditures and further exploration and evaluation of the Masama Coal Project covered by the Prospecting License.
Andre Boje, commented that without capital partners a project of this nature would not get off the ground, and that the major investors remain committed and supportive of the project going forward.
The demand for coal in the southern African region continues unabated with prices escalating on an ongoing basis. “The July 2017 McCloskey Coal Report highlights that South African domestic prices were 51% higher than the same period in 2016 and that there is strong demand from the cement, industrial and paper industries.”
Boje said this situation is driven by demand exceeding supply as producers are focused on fulfilling their take or pay export agreements together with the lack of investment in new projects or expansion of existing production facilities. “The climate of under-investment in South Africa is blamed partly on political interference in the mining sector and the rise of resource nationalisation.”
Initial production at Masama is planned for 1.2 million tons of saleable coal per annum ramping up when required, as the project will have a capacity to process 3 million tons of run of mine coal per annum from first commissioning.
Export Market Whilst the initial project plan focused entirely on the 1.2 million tons to the regional market, attention must be paid to the export market as the API4 index price for seaborne thermal coal has risen 67% since 2016 and currently trades at $82.00 – $84.00 per ton.
“The international traders forecast that this trend could continue, albeit at slower rate, due to production cutbacks in China and delayed investment in greenfield coal projects. Noteworthy is significant investment by large multi nationals in coal projects in Australia which highlights their bullish view on coal going forward.” Boje added that Botswana has a significant role to play in the seaborne thermal coal market due to its large untapped coal resources and proximity to the South African coal export infrastructure.
He said that logistical challenges to exploit this opportunity need to be addressed and the company has had extensive engagement with Botswana Rail and Transnet Freight Rail to address the issue of getting coal to port. “The engagements have been extremely positive with an apparent will from all parties to resolve this which is expected to result in full utilization of the project capacity.”
Boje concluded by saying that following the successful listing on the BSE in April, the proposal was to explore a listing on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) and list during 2018. “The board has also deemed it prudent to investigate the Australian Stock Exchange and the London-based Alternative Investment Market in addition to the JSE. Shareholders will be advised on progress on this matter in due course.”
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
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Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.