Mmamabula West Coal Power Project
The 2,443Mt Mmamabula West project contains some of the best quality coal in Botswana in two 4m to 6m thick seams (A-Seam and K-Seam) which lie 100m to 150m below the surface. The project is situated some 65km west of the main railway line in Botswana which provides access to local and regional coal markets.
A prefeasibility study on the extraction of the high-quality lower A-Seam (Figure 6) was completed for the project in 2015 and determined that conventional underground mining could produce a variety of products for coal export or power generation at highly competitive prices, and that this coal could be readily trucked to a rail loading station on the main Botswana railway line. African Energy has developed coal specifications for several different coal products, including high quality export coals and coal suitable for use in South African power stations.
During the last twelve months there has been an increase in the global price for thermal coal which has caused prices in southern Africa to rise significantly (refer to Figure 7). With some of South Africa’s coal mines having either exhausted their reserves of high quality coal or become increasingly inefficient due to the depth of mining or their small scale of operations, there is an opportunity for new, efficient and high-quality coal mines in Botswana to be developed as new supply.
African Energy is currently seeking a South African project partner for Mmamabula West to assist the Company find buyers for future coal products in the large South African market.
African Energy continues to develop this project with a renewed emphasis on the potential for an export coal mine:
- An updated mineral resource will be completed using information from infill drilling along the planned decline and initial years of the mine schedule (Figure 8 and 9). This would place a portion of the resource in the Measured Resource category and would provide the basis for a detailed feasibility study for an export operation.
- An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the project has been submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs in Botswana. Various consultative meetings were held with stakeholder groups during the year and an approval is expected by year end.
- An application for Land Rights over the area to be developed has been submitted. Follow-up meetings with the local Land Board will occur in the remainder of 2018, and once this and the ESIA have been approved, an application for a mining licence will be submitted.
- Monitoring of groundwater levels and groundwater chemistry continued. The Company now has three years of continuous baseline data.