On the 26th of November 2021, His Excellency the President of Botswana Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi officiated at the Motheo Project Opencast Mine groundbreaking ceremony. The opencast mine marks an expansion of operations from only underground mining to also opencast.
The Motheo Project was fundamentally set-up to position Morupule Coal Mine as a strategic source of energy producing coal with the opencast forecast to increase tonnage allowing for high scalability to meet demand. The project when fully operational will include a coal washing plant and associated infrastructure to supply coal into the regional market. The Construction phase has so far created 900 local employment opportunities and the Operation phase of the project will create over 350 employment opportunities.
This huge project is expected to increase coal production from the current 2.8 million produced by the mine to 4.2 million tons per annum. The mine will combine both underground and open cast mining.
When proving welcome remarks at the ceremony Kgosi Martha Lebang of Palapye said that the Motheo project comes at the opportune time and period when our people in Palapye and its proximity have been hungry for such major developments targeted at cushioning them from the effects of the Covid – 19 and unemployment.
For his part the General Manager of MCM, Edwin Elias reminded guests that since 1973 the mine has been mining coal to meet the local and regional power generation. He said it is important to note that the mine will be celebrating 50 years of substantial contribution to the economic growth of Botswana in the near future.
He further said Morupule Mine will use Motheo Project as a spring board that will help grow and expand their business to participate and capture the prevailing market opportunities in the coal industry. Elias revealed that they want to increase their share in the regional market and eventually increase their presence in the seaborne and international market. He emphasized that the demand for coal globally has increased and they wish to fulfill the prevailing demand. Among other important issues the General Manager said they are currently undergoing a review of their business strategy with a view to look afresh at their purpose, their mission and value so that they can find a proper hinge for themselves in the National Strategy – Vision 2036.
Giving a keynote address President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi who was the guest speaker expressed gratitude that finally Motheo project has become a reality. He said mining remains one of the most important economic sectors which hold the key to transforming Botswana to an upper income country. Currently Botswana has 212 billion of untapped coal reserves. The President said as the country is experiencing shortage of electricity with only 60 percent being generated locally; coal from Morupule mine remains the predominant source of energy, feeding both Morupule A and Morupule B power plants to meet the country’s electricity demands. He emphasized that Motheo expansion project will assist government’s efforts to increase rural electrification and village connectivity.
“We anticipate employment creation particularly for the youth from this project given its scope of work which includes the development of an open cast coal mine; a coal handling and processing plant and associated supporting infrastructure,” he also said.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi said the P1.7 billion open cast mine will definitely add value to the mine as it will increase coal production. He also said the expansion project will result in an increase of jobs.
“Morupule Coal Mine has invested significant funds on coal fired energy and the country needs energy security to further its National Development Plans. In the short term coal fired energy, including coal bed Methane is the only reliable and cost effective way of producing electricity in Botswana,” he said in part of his speech.