In spite of environmental concerns and calls to abandon coal, work is due to begin on Botswana’s second privately-owned coal mine in the first quarter of next year.
The southern African country signed up to a global commitment to reduce the use of heavily-polluting coal at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow but opted out of a pledge to stop issuing new licences to mine the fossil fuel.
In trying to diversify its economy off over-reliance on diamonds, Botswana is edging ahead with developing its coal resources, which are estimated at 200 billion tonnes.
CEO of Maatla Resources Jacques Badenhorst was awarded a licence in February and had hoped to start building the 1.2 million tonnes per annum Coal mine this year, but was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic and regulatory delays.
Maatla is looking to proceed after a funding deal with Frankfurt-listed HMS Bergbau HMUG.DE , which in a $45 million debt and equity deal concluded in April took a 51% stake in it.
Badenhorst said in an interview late on Thursday, “the target is to reach financial close by February next year and then immediately start building the mine. First production is expected within 12 to 15 months”
Badenhorst said the target market for the mine included cement manufacturers and boiler operators in Namibi,South Africa, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.