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Botswana will be net exporter of electricity by 2026

While Botswana currently depends on South African power supply for about half of its electricity consumption, plans are underway to not only have the country produce enough power for itself by also be able to export to other countries.

By 2026, Botswana will be net exporter of electricity, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Maxwell Moagi in Parliament on Wednesday. Moagi, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Ramotswa constituency was answering a question from Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP Mephato Reatile who wanted to know when the ministry will establish a clear plan on solar energy as Botswana holds the potential to process solar energy and to reduce imports of electricity and export the surplus.

Reatile also wanted parliament to be put to terms on whether the Ministry will foster an environment in which private companies can harness the solar energy for resale. Botswana’s total national power consumption hovers around 600 megawatts annually, Morupule A produces 100 megawatts, Morupule B around 250 megawatts.

Botswana then gets 150 megawatts from Eskom, the remaining is sourced from the Southern African power pool: Namibia, Mozambique etc. Once Morupule is fully functional it will produce 600 megawatts, meaning Botswana will be energy efficient.

Responding to Reatile’s question, Moagi said significant action is already in place to change the status quo and ensure Botswana’s energy security. He revealed that plans to make Botswana a net exporter of electricity are underpinned by massive renewable energy projects that will catapult Botswana into an energy sector regional powerhouse by 2026.

Moagi explained that the development of renewable energies will enable Botswana to meet rising power demand, reduce dependency on power imports, diversify generation and energy supply portfolios, mitigate climate change and increase access to reliable, clean energy to alleviate poverty as well as stimulate and drive economic development.

“My ministry has a very clear plan incorporating solar energy, in order to meet the local energy demand and be able to export excess electricity. We have developed an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which was launched in December 2020,” he revealed. The Integrated Resource Plan is a 20 year roadmap for power generation and takes on board different technologies for power generation.

Integrated Energy Planning and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) are an integral parts of the energy planning process in Botswana as guided by the National Development Plan 11 and other sector policies. The target is to have 15% contribution of the renewable energy to the electricity mix and 100 percent electricity availability by 2030.

“From the beginning of the planning period of 2020, Botswana was relying on electricity imports and I believe that the expected increase in local generation from year 2023, will significantly reduce electricity import. From year 2026, Botswana will be a net exporter of electricity,” Moagi told Parliament.

The IRP has identified a number of projects for implementation over the period from 2020 to 2040, amongst them 2X50 MW Solar Photovoltaic projects located in Selibe Phikwe and Jwaneng.
One site, Selibe Phikwe has been awarded and the power plant for second site (Jwaneng) is under procurement.

These projects will be implemented by the private sector. Both sites are expected to be in commercial operation by December, 2022. Another project is the 12 grid-tied small scale Solar PV projects with a combined capacity of 35 MW, wherein six (6) sites namely Shakawe, Bobonong, Lobatse, Molepolole, Maun and Ghanzi have been awarded and the remaining six (6) sites (Kang, Tsabong, Tutume, Serowe, Charleshill and Kasane are at procurement stage.

All twelve (12) sites are expected to be in commercial operation by December 2022, providing a total of 35 MW. In addition is the 100 MW Coal Bed Methane (CBM) project which is currently under procurement.

Other projects are the 200MW Concentrated Solar Project (CSP) which will be procured towards the end of 2021,the 100 MW Solar Photovoltaic which will be implemented in National Development Plan 12 and the 50 MW Wind Power Project which will also be implemented in National Development Plan 12.

A battery storage project will be implemented to allow supply of electricity during morning and evening peak hours. Moagi credited the liberalisation of electricity supply to the Electricity Supply Act which was amended in 2007 noting that it has made provision for private companies to participate in electricity generation.

He however explained that transmission and distribution of electricity is still carried out by Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). The private companies are expected to sign Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in order to sell electricity to BPC.

He said his Ministry has taken a deliberate decision that all renewable energy projects inclusive of solar projects that are in the IRP will be implemented by Independent Power Producers. The projects will be tendered for following the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.

In addition to commercial solar projects the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology & Energy Security has also developed the Rooftop Solar Programme to create an environment in which end-users can generate their own electricity and sell any excess to BPC.

The programme was launched in 2020 and it is a suitable alternative mechanism to increase the uptake of solar energy and facilitate private sector participation, according to Minister Moagi.
The system-wide aggregate capacity of the Programme in the first 12 months is capped at 10 MW. The programme covers household, commercial and industrial sectors.

So far, ninety (90) applications have been received. Thirty-Seven (37) have been awarded and thirty-three (33) do not meet the requirements (i.e. 13 are not BPC customers, 14 have no documentation, 6 have withdrawn). Eighteen (18) applications were duplicated, therefore invalid while two applications are currently being evaluated.

Moagi explained that the main challenges facing the program are that some customers are not providing the required information, shortfalls in acquisition of historic data from non- smart meters for system sizing, installations without net metering capability and lack of comprehension of the Rooftop Solar Guidelines.

He said his ministry will continue to play a leading role in the development of the electricity sector whilst the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) is tasked with regulating the sector by guaranteeing a competitive environment.


New Khoemacau owners commit to mine’s multibillion Pula expansion

6th December 2023

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.


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Khoemacau Copper Mining to be acquired by MMG Limited

6th December 2023

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.



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BPC Signs PPA with Sekaname Energy

6th December 2023

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.

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