Botswana mulls coal exports coal via Mozambique

Botswana plans to start exporting coal from ports in Mozambique and South Africa ahead of completion of a railway linking the country to Namibia.

Chief executive of Botswana’s Chamber of Mines, Charles Siwawa is quoted in the local media as saying the wait for the completion of the Trans-Kalahari Railway could prove “disastrous” for the economic ambitions of country, which include providing coal to countries like India and China.

Therefore, according to reports, mining of coal deposits in the Mmambula region in southern Botswana, depends on completion of the Trans-Kalahari Railway, mining companies operating locally expect to start their projects by exporting through the ports of Maputo in Mozambique and Richards Bay, South Africa.

In the face of a drop in coal prices on international markets, Siwawa stressed that mining should not make a rise in prices a condition for launching coal exploration, noting that exporting through Mozambique and South Africa will help operators develop their logistics capabilities.

With an export target of 60 million tonnes by rail between Botswana and Namibia, over a distance of 1,500 kilometres, the various operators installed in the Mmamabula coal region may bring coal production forward, with export capacity of around 20 million tonness through the ports of Maputo and Richards Bay.

The Matola coal terminal at the port of Maputo, operated by Grindrod Limited in Mozambique, offers an annual export capacity of 6 million tonnes, which may increase to 26 million tonnes in the future, based on an ongoing expansion plan.

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