Local coal miner, Shumba Coal, has endured a tough year of operations as the junior mining sector saw falling stocks with cost reductions, contraction, and suspension of operations by most miners, in a bid to survive.
However, Shumba board chair Allen Clegg, is still upbeat, future prospects, saying that: “Shumba is continuing to focus on low cost coal production for local supply to the spot market and its IPP projects in the short term,” adding that Shumba will then “export onto world spot markets into the sweet spot of the upturn medium term, giving significantly higher than normal returns, and the future is certainly bright.”
Already, Shumba is projecting sales to local power producers of coal supply of up to 1.5 Mtpa of quality thermal coal to existing nearby power producers by 2016.
“Management continues to execute it plans with a low cost overhead structure in the Company and focus on expenditure and investment for project value growth with a well-considered and controlled outsourcing model for critical expertise towards early project execution for Sechaba with consideration for a 300MWe IPP potentially supplying NamPower in Namibia,” stated Clegg in a statement that accompanied the financial results of the company for the year ended 30 June 2015.
The expansion of the Mine to produce and supply an additional 1.5 Mtpa (Total of 3 Mtpa saleable) and construction and commissioning of our Sechaba Energy 300MWe IPP, utilising this expansion in production for generation and distribution to regional grids, with NamPower targeted for end of 2017.
“Analysts continue to predict that established energy markets and producers will continue to struggle in the short term, but also indicate the attractiveness at current levels of emerging energy markets like Africa where Shumba is in prime position. The power deficits embedded in the Southern African sector and SADEC region plays to Shumba’s growing strength in its asset base as our projects advance to energy supplier and we see this continuing to underwrite our future,” stated Clegg.
Shumba, as well as other miners are currently feeling the effects of low commodity prices. The downward spiral of the sector is said to be abating according to most observers.
“The potential rebound in the market and in particular for those companies like Shumba that have shown the resilience, prudence and diligence to continue to advance despite the past difficult environment remains a high probability and possibility,” said Clegg.
With the whole sector pondering on the timing of the recovery, however, an analysis carried out by the Board led them to posit “that it is not too far away based on macro trends in currency adjustments and devaluations, the need to bring interest rates to sensible levels and inflationary pressures that will result.”
On the markets for thermal coal, Shumba believes the markets will correct by 2017/18 based on the known energy demand across South-East Asia – not including major buyers, India and china- which is estimated to require an additional 40Mt of coal supply per annum with “the market is still heading for a significant deficit within 3 to 5 years which will force prices upward to potentially unseen levels and highs.”
Looking at the region, the Southern African power pool has a major net deficit of over 30GWe that is growing as older power plants (some 40GWe) are closed down and need replacement hence the planned Shumba Sechaba and Mabesekwa IPP’s will enter a readymade high demand market for security of return on investment for the long term.
In total the Group raised USD $5.95 million during the year from two separate private placements with institutional and private investors in Botswana (USD $3.19m) and Mauritius (USD $2.76m) representing a 92 percent increase in the previous year “in more difficult times.”
Total Group expenditures on Exploration and Evaluation during the year were USD $ 1,001,754.
The Group’s net assets at the end of the year were USD $8,836,183.
Cash and Cash Equivalents of the Group as at the reporting date were USD $3,415,208.
Completion of the full project PFS for Sechaba Mine & Beneficiation project with export products.
Acquisition in September 2014 of the Lethlakeng deposit prospecting licence No. PL308/2014 with estimated coal resources of 500Mt and expenditures of USD $330,000 for the next three years to investigate the strong potential for development of a UCG (Underground Coal Gasification) project.
Acquisition in February 2015 of the 800Mt Mabesekwa Opencast Coal Mine Project and prospecting licence No. PL428/2009 in a binding agreement from Daheng Group for USD $4 million in shares and deferred cash/shares payments.
Execution of a legally binding JDA (Joint Development Agreement) with Mulilo Renewable Project Developments Pty Ltd of Capetown, for the joint development of the 600Mw Mabesekwa Independent Power Plant (MEIPP).
Completion of a strongly positive Mining Prefeasibility Study (PFS) for Mabesekwa strongly underwriting the MEIPP plan of the Company under the JDA with Mulilo.
The confirmation of the renewal of the Sechaba Licence in April 2015 by the Botswana Government underlining the confidence in the delivery capability of Shumba.
The confirmation in April 2015 of the full transfer of rights to Mabesekwa into the name of Shumba as a further show of confidence from the Botswana Government in the delivery capability of Shumba.
Management’s commitment and demonstrated competence in the disciplined maintenance of a low cost structure within the Group shown clearly in the Company’s continued advancement detailed above.
The Group remains adequately funded to meet its planned expenditure requirements in the coming financial year.
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.