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SASOL, Chinese firms jump into multibillion Pula BOL CTL project

Botswana‘s highly anticipated Coal-liquefaction project is taking shape, this is according to Minister of Mineral  Resources , Green Technology & Energy Security Lefoko Maxwell Moagi. Speaking to international media this week at the Mining Indaba in Cape Town South Africa, Minister Moagi revealed that the project is anticipated to be in full swing by 2025.

In 2017 government wholly owned Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) floated a tender in the market requesting for expression of interest from investors, financiers and technical partners for bankable feasibility study, as well as to design, finance, construct, own, operate and maintain a coal to liquids plant in Botswana. The project which has the potential to create an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 jobs will cost a total cost of over P40 billion in a period of 4- 5 years of construction.

It is believed that the development of the Coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant will go a long way in ensuring that Botswana becomes fuel self-sufficient with further potential of being a net exporter of petroleum products in Southern Africa and the African region. “The Coal to liquid plant is still in its infancy stage, but we believe now it will be accelerated,” Moagi told Reuters on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba Investment conference in Cape Town.

According to reports from Cape Town, some financial institutions in the region as well as international investment funders including Chinese firms are on the cards as potential financiers of the multibillion pula project.Minister Moagi further revealed that government has held preliminary discussions with Sasol, a leading Coal-to-liquid technology behemoth with multibillion dollar refinery currently supplying South Africa with millions of liters of synthetic fuel year on year out.

Coal liquefaction is a process of converting coal into liquid hydrocarbons: liquid fuels and petrochemicals. The  process involves conversion of coal into liquid fuels, including chemicals using several liquefaction processing to produce products such as petrol, paraffin, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), ammonia, wax and chemicals.

According to Minister Moagi Government is accelerating the development of CTL as it brings immense benefits for the country, including the creation of an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 jobs as well as potential for exports. “We believe coal has also got a beneficial way of being exploited without adding to the carbon footprint. We can convert it in coal-to-liquids, we can convert it to gas, we can do a lot of things with coal and these are the things we will be exploiting fully, “he said.

Establishing a Coal to liquid sector has also been viewed as a revolutionary industrial upswing that would also assist Botswana in developing spin-off industries, such as fertilizers, plastics and ammonia for explosives, which are used in mining. Botswana has over 200 billion tonnes of coal reserved and uses about 1.2 billion litres per annum of fuel, all of which is imported, mostly from South Africa.

SHUMBA PROJECT

Last year Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed coal exploration outfit Shumba Energy bought into Coal Petroleum Limited, a private company registered in Botswana that has been focused on the development of a commercial scale liquid fuels production facility, called “Project Tsosoloso.”.  Shumaba acquired 80 % holding of equity in the company.

Coal Petroleum Limited intends to provide Botswana and Africa with energy fuels and specialty chemicals for value added product production. The company has partnered with Powerchina International Group Limited and Wison Group both leading Chinese EPC companies with a proven track record and recent experience in the coal-based power & CTL technologies for the execution of the Bankable Feasibility Study.

They are in the process of completing the technical aspects of the BFS to a detailed and accurate capital and operating cost estimation required to secure the project execution funding. In the statement Shumba says it was continuing to engage with its partners Powerchina International and Wison on technical and project development issues, also on funding matters, including potential equity and project financing options.

Furthermore Shumba has entered into a binding Coal Supply Agreement with Coal Petroleum to guarantee supply of all the feedstock that would be required for the life of the Project from the Mabesekwa coal resource and project situated approximately 60km south-west of Francistown. Coal Petroleum is working with Shumba’s specialists for the integration of the Mabesekwa site geotechnical, regulatory permitting and environmental impact assessment activities. “The company now plans to build the proposed CTL facility at the Mabesekwa site and Coal Petroleum will now become a managed subsidiary of Shumba,” reads the statement.

BGI SIGNS DEAL WITH JOGMEC

Still at the Mining Indaba Investment Conference Botswana GeoScience Institute  Chief Executive Officer Mr Tiyapo H Ngwisanyi and the Executive Vice President of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) Mr Mitsuya Hirokawa singed  cooperative geological survey agreement for the geological mapping, geochemical and geophysical surveying of selected areas in Botswana.

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Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

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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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

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.

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