Botswana’s Chamber of Mines has announced plans to consider setting up a coal-to-liquid (CTL) fuels industry. Any such industry, should it come to fruition, would help the southern African country exploit its vast mineral resources and cut its import bill by around US$ 338 million/year.
“It’s not rocket science,” Charles Siwawa, chief executive officer of the Botswana Chamber of Mines, said in recent interview in Gaborone, where he is attending a conference on resources.
The chamber, along with the Ministry of Minerals and Botswana Investment and Trade Centre, will conduct a feasibility study over the next two years for the project, which would boost industries from fertilisers to plastics, Siwawa said.
He cited South Africa’s Sasol, the world’s biggest maker of motor fuels from coal, as the benchmark for any initiative.
“We’ve taken a strategic decision not to pursue any new CTL opportunities,” Alex Anderson, a spokesperson for Johannesburg-based Sasol, said. “Our focus is purely on gas liquids.”
Sasol produces more than 40% of South Africa’s motor fuel, using CTL and gas-to-liquids technology.
Botswana has an estimated coal resource of more than 200-billion t and plans to ship 115-million tpa of the fuel within a decade to meet growing demand in China and India.
Siwawa said the chamber was pushing the governments of Botswana and Namibia to expedite the construction of the 1500 km Trans-Kalahari railway linking the landlocked country’s biggest coal-mining region with the upgraded port of Walvis Bay, in Namibia.A March agreement between Botswana and Namibia established a jointly owned company to administer the development of the US$ 15 billion railway line by private investors.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/20062014/botswana_looks_to_coal_to_liquids_1005/