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Encouraging outlook for Botswana coal mine

World Coal,

African Energy Resources has delivered an encouraging prefeasibility study for an underground coal mine at Mmamabula West, based on a 200 million t portion of the A-Seam.

Managing director of the company, Frazer Tabeart, said that it’s the first time a modern prefeasibility study has been applied to a good quality coal project in Botswana. “"It shows that there is the potential for an export quality product (both for AFR and the broader Botswana coal sector), and that ROM and mine-gate costs can be very competitive,” Tabeart said.

"This bodes very well for Botswana (and AFR) when there is a sustained recovery in coal prices,” he continued.

"Whilst we are a long way from the coast, the existing rail and port facilities are more than adequate to get a good business (2-3 million t of annual sales) underway, and they will improve with time. The rail tariffs are also starting to become competitive. It won't take much more of a fall in rail tariffs, or increase in coal price to make this project sustainable and profitable," Tabeart concluded.

The study evaluated a 4.4 million tpa ROM operation producing up to 3 million tpa of 6200 kcal/kg thermal coal with low ash and low sulfur content, over a 20 year mine life.

The report estimated that the initial capital cost estimate for an owner operated mine and coal handing and processing plant would be around US$ 113 million. 

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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