Botswana to tap into Asian market

BOTSWANA plans to ship 115 million tonnes per annum of coal to Asia within the next decade.

Sadie Davidson

The country’s Chamber of Mines released a statement that said Botswana wanted to capitalise on the Chinese and Indian markets.

Exports would start at 65,000 tonnes in five years following the completion of the Trans-Kalahari railway, which will link the Mmamabula coalfields with the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia.

The Chamber of Mines predicted output would increase 33% within the first three years.

Minerals, Energy and Water Minister Onkokame Mokaila told Bloomberg that the construction of a $US15 billion ($A16.63 billion) railway, connecting landlocked Botswana’s biggest coal-mining region to an upgraded port in neighbouring Namibia, would allow the southern African country to access Asian markets.

Botswana has encouraged 10 exploration companies, including Shumba Coal and African Energy Resources, to apply for mining licences to kick-start shipments using existing rail lines through Mozambique’s Beira port and South Africa’s Richards Bay.