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China falls away as destination for Botswana coal

Top economist says the coal age has gone past

India will be probably the biggest customer of Botswana coal. China’s move to put restrictions on coal imports, has effectively made the giant Asian country, much less of a prospect for Botswana coal, according to Jindal Africa general manager for Botswana, Rajendra Kumar Tiwari.

Tiwari said this week at the Botswana Resource Sector Conference, that the most feasible options for the realisation of the Botswana coal roadmap would be a combination of exports to India and thermal coal for power generation to mitigate the region’s 7,709 megawatt supply to demand deficit.

“As the sulphur content of the Botswana coal is high, it needs to be washed to reduce sulphur content and to increase the energy content,” said Tiwari, adding that this coal complements the Indian situation as it can be mixed with the lower quality Indian coal.

The Government of India is desperately trying to minimise the gap between production and consumption of coal. In spite of that, there would be demand of high grade Botswana coal mainly for blending with Lower quality coal available there. Low sulphur in Indian coal will be an added advantage.

To make Botswana coal cost effective, power industry needs to be developed along with coal industry. For sustainable coal mining industry low grade coal has to be given some economic value by using in power plant.

“Export to China would be a difficult task due to lower demand, stringent new laws and geographical location,” said Tiwari.

He said that due to fluctuations in the oil price and high capital involved in it, Coal To Liquids (CTL) will be high risk business and Botswana Is not ready for that after factoring in the non availability of human resource and unavailability of water.

Will be added disadvantage free on board (FOB) price of Botswana is always going to be higher compare to other countries due to more transportation costs incurred which is about 55 percent of the FOB price in the case of Botswana coal.

“So to reduce it, some costs must be shared with lower quality coal by using It in power plants,” Tiwari said, adding that there is enough requirement of power in SADC region that Botswana should take advantage of it, especially its central location.

Shumba Coal’s finance director, Thapelo Mokhathi also expressed that their company is aware of the global call for cleaner energy but took comfort in   The United Nations’ breaking ranks with the World Bank and environmental non-governmental organizations, by agreeing to continue coal-fired power plants in developing countries.

International environmental non-governmental community, the World Bank began to reduce funding coal-fired power plants in the developing world in 2011 and in 2013, it adopted a new policy curtailing such loans even further, offering only financial support for greenfield coal power generation projects only in rare circumstances, such as where there are “no feasible alternatives to coal.”

However, the United Nation (UN) green climate fund (GCF) refused an explicit ban on fossil fuel projects at March meeting in South Korea, reasoning that these countries would develop using coal as a source of electricity.

However, economist Keith Jefferies, during the deliberations at the Conference, poured cold water on the prospects of coal saying “the age of coal has come to an end.”  

“I don’t see the price of coal recovering enough,” referring to the price of the resource that has fallen by 52 percent since the Botswana coal roadmap was launched, taking down with it, the viability of the proposed 1500 km Trans Kalahari Railway line, that will run from Mmamabula to Walvis Bay in Namibia.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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