Until recently, insufficient rail networks have made coal export from Botswana uneconomic.
With dedication earlier this year of a Coal Coordinating Unit to process the national coal strategy, the government has closely pursued two infrastructure projects.
The Trans Kalahari railway line would link Botswana to Namibia’s Walvis Bay and the Techobanine railway line through Zimbabwe would connect mines to the Indian Ocean and Asian markets.
Addressing the conference, Kalahari Energy chief executive Steve Martin said the Botswana government had already shown itself to be a facilitator of independent power producers and now needed to take the next step of positioning the country as a major southern African energy corridor, the Botswana Gazette reported.
The newspaper also noted that South African coal miner Exxaro Resources called on all the coal-mining companies at the conference to collaborate regarding Botswana’s infrastructure development.
To date, a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Namibian and Botswana governments with regards to the construction of the Trans Kalahari railway line.
Mozambique, however, has withdrawn its offer for Botswana to use the coal export capacity of Maputo Port due to the coastal country’s own increased production.
Botswana authorities estimate the cost for a port and loading facility at a stifling $US3.7 billion.
Botswana has the capacity to produce up to 90 million tonnes of seaborne thermal coal per annum for export markets.
The country has coal deposits of 212 billion tonnes of which 7Bt are measured reserves.