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Botswana looks to coal

To curb diamond dependency.
Image: Shutterstock

Botswana must diversify into commodities such as coal and base metals as a matter of urgency, after a difficult year for diamonds sapped government revenue, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Wednesday.

The Covid-19 pandemic aggravated weakness in the diamond sector, which accounts for 80% of Botswana’s export earnings.

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“Overdependence on diamonds has more than ever made it imperative for us to urgently expand our revenue base to other minerals such as coal and base metals,” the president told the Investing in African Mining Indaba.

Botswana aims to promote prospecting and mining of other minerals, including coal, of which the country has an estimated 212 billion tonnes.

Masisi said the government was working with neighbouring countries to develop infrastructure to access the seaborne coal markets.

“In an effort to develop the routes to seaborne markets, my government is working in close collaboration with neighbouring countries to put in place the necessary infrastructure to facilitate export of coal,” he said.

Botswana’s state-owned Morupule Coal Mine is developing a mine that will boost annual output by 35% this year.

Private coal miner Minergy Ltd started exporting coal to South Africa in mid-2020, and is hoping to win a contract to supply coal to South Africa’s power utility Eskom.

Botswana is turning to coal as investors turn away from the most polluting of fossil fuels.

The diamond industry, meanwhile, is showing signs of rallying from a period of oversupply and weak demand made worse by the restrictions and economic devastation caused by Covid-19.

Anglo American unit De Beers earlier on Wednesday reported higher diamond sales, boosted by robust demand ahead of the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.

But exports of rough diamonds mined by Debswana, the joint venture between De Beers and the Botswana government, fell by 30% in 2020.

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Botswana is in big trouble.

They also made some very disingenuous decisions aimed at driving foreigners away. A simple example is they increased transfer fees on property bought by foreigners from 5% to 30%. Wow!!! Ease of doing business???

I believe it is going to go from bad to worse. They have been at it for DECADES now with their infrastructure “problem”

IF YOU DONT WANT HELP FROM FOREIGHNERS?? Get on with it and do it…

They have lost so much FDI already because of their “fancy way of “TRYING” to do things.

Its like they are working to Botswana time.

You need to get with it Rre. You cant keep “insolating”

“Botswana must diversify into commodities such as coal and base metals as a matter of urgency, after a difficult year for diamonds sapped government revenue, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Wednesday.”
Botswana must diversify away from mining altogether. Already in the nineties there were govt efforts to boost industries, manufacturing in towns like Gabs and Selebi Phikwe.
Coal is a dying sector, electricity production far from.
These are far more appropriate projects : a 5000 MW PV solar and CSP+TS combined with Nam to export power, instead of digging up and exporting that dirty black stuff.
http://www.afrik21.africa/en/namibia-botswana-authorities-fast-track-solar-pv-mega-project-of-5-gwp/

http://www.mmegi.bw/index.php?aid=87152&dir=2020/september/25

AU has an even far more ambitious plan at quite an advanced stage.
reneweconomy.com.au/worlds-biggest-solar-and-battery-project-lands-planning-deal-with-nt-government/

End of comments.

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