Botswana-based Minergy Ltd., which owns the 390-million-metric-ton (mt) Masama Coal Project in the Mmambula Coalfield, provided an update on the status of the project, reporting that is has moved more than 2.2 million m3 of overburden as it works to bring the mine into full production. “We have come such a long way and are pleased with developments at the mine site,” said Morné du Plessis, Minergy CEO. “We are extremely excited about the future of the project, our ability to supply coal into the region, the highly experienced team responsible for executing the plan, as well as our capacity to contribute towards a viable coal sector in Botswana.”

Minergy has extracted roughly 39,000 mt of coal. In excess of 340,000 mt are exposed in the pit, which only needs to be blasted and put through the plant. This equates to roughly three months of feedstock. According to the mine plans, from August this year, it is envisaged that Minergy will be mining 110,000 tons of raw coal per month. The same quantities will be put through the washing plant and this should result in saleable coal of between 70,000 tons to 80,000 tons, increasing to 100,000 tons per month next year. Minergy was hoping to achieve a steady state of operations will during September.

Demand for the product is high as a result of the short supply of coal specifically into South Africa, where annual coal production has dropped by 20 million tons from historical volumes. In addition, it is believed that Eskom will suffer a shortfall in coal supply of 470 million tons by 2030. Large players in the sector, Anglo American and South32, are respectively withdrawing from the coal sector and disposing of their coal assets, meaning the supply will tighten even more. Minergy is currently exploring various options for offtake, ranging from longer-term agreements for the finer duff product to spot deals for the bigger fractions.