Botswana and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

Botswana is a small producer and consumer of coal. In 2019, it produced 2.1 million tonnes, ranking 43rd in the world.[1]

Coal Resources

According to the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Bostwana's coal resource data is based exploration reports which are compliant with International Reporting Standards. Only reports that are compliant with international reporting standards for coal resource estimation, (JORC, SAMREC, NI 43-101, etc) are used as data sources.[2]

The country's coal deposits were previously estimated at 212 billion tons (mostly hypothetical and speculative). The coal occurs in various coalfields include Pandamatenga, Eastern (Dukwi, Foley and Sese), Tuli, Morupule and Moijabana, Mmamabula, South Eastern (Dutlwe and Letlhakeng).[2]

The results from an on-going study that seeks to classify coal resources according to their quality and quantity has revealed that Botswana coal resources are mostly sub-bituminous and estimated at 28.2 billion tonnes.[2]

Resource Details

Category Reserve Classification Quantity Units Data Year
BGR Estimate Reserves 1,660 [1] million tonnes 2019
BGR Estimate Resources 56,300 [1] million tonnes 2019
Geological Survey Reserves 9,720[2] million tonnes 2015
Geological Survey Resources 28,181[2] million tonnes 2015
Commercial Reserves Reserves million tonnes
Commercial Resources Resources million tonnes

Coal Production

Coal deposits remain largely unexploited, currently there are only two coal mines.The two mines are Morupule Coal Mine in eastern Botswana which produces about 1.5 million tonnes per year and Masama coal project in south-western Botswana. The Masama Coal Project has a coal resource of about 380 million tonnes (Mt) and it is currently under developed by Minergy Coal. There are other mining licenses issued to Jindal in the Mmamabula coalfield and African Energy around Sese/Foley coalfield but there are not yet developed.

In 2006 Botswana mined 962,000 tonnes of sub-bituminous coal, including from the Morupule coal mine.[3] In 2005 749,000 tonnes of coal were consumed in electricity generation, the sole fuel used in the country for centralised power generation.[4]

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) lists the only operating coal mine in Botswana in 2006 as being the Morupule Colliery, which is owned by Anglo American and related firms and has an annual production capacity as being 1 million tonnes per annum.

The USGS states that "given the country's extensive coal resources and projected regional power demand, Botswana has the potential to develop and support a small scale coal-bed methane industry and additional coal-fueled electricity generating plants that could supply power to the South African Power Pool though its land lines to South Africa."[3]

Coal Consumption

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) owns and operates the 120 megawatt Morupule Power Station, which sources its coal from the Morupule coal mine. In 2004 the power station supplied only 30% of the country's electricity, with the balance imported from the South African utility, Eskom.[5]

In his November 2009 State of the Nation Address, the President of Botswana, Ian Khama, outlined a "three pronged strategy" to expand the country's electricity supply. The first strategy, he said, was to secure the power supply to avoid the necessity of load shedding. The second was to emphasise support for the completion of the Morupule B Power Station "whose first phase will have a projected output of 600 Mega Watts and is due for completion in 2011. A second phase of expansion will further increase output by another 600 Mega Watts, which will free us of the need to import electricity."[6]

The third strategy, he said, was "to encourage and facilitate investment by Independent Power Producers (IPPS) in the country, to assist us in meeting immediate energy needs, while generating additional long-term capacity for export. In this context, negotiations are on-going between the Mmamabula Energy Project sponsors and its key stakeholders, the Botswana Power Corporation and Eskom, as well as the Governments of Botswana and South Africa. Due to rising costs associated with events outside our country, the project sponsors have had to scale down the project, which is now expected to generate a total of 1200 Mega Watts. We are also in the process of negotiating with additional partners to reduce the project’s risk profile. I take this opportunity to further urge other interested IPPs to engage Government. Botswana has the resource endowment and central location to potentially supply power to the SADC region. We will also welcome those in the private sector who may be interested in setting up renewable energy projects such as solar energy."[6]

Proposed Power Stations

  • Morupule Power Station Expansion: In 2006 the BPC were considering an expansion of the Morupule Power Station. One option was a 400 megawatt expansion with another option being a 1,200 megawatt expansion. The bigger expansion option would involve the sale of surplus electricity into South Africa and possibly other neigbouring countries.[7]
  • Mookane Domestic Power Project is a proposed 300 megawatt coal-fired power station. The plant, which is also proposed by CIC Energy, would be located near the Mmamabula coal field but cater primarily for the domestic market.[8]
  • Mmamantswe Coal Project: In June 2007 Aviva Corporation entered into a heads of agreement with Mawana Minerals (Pty) Ltd of Botswana to form a joint venture over the Mmamantswe Coal Project. On its website the company states that it will "spend $US0.5M over 18 months upon which Mawana will grant it an exclusive right to earn a 90% Joint Venture interest in the project by undertaking a Bankable Feasibility Study." The coal deposit has not been explored since 1983 but the company states that the earlier exploration indicated three coal seams between 30 and 110 metres deep.[9]

Despite limited information on the actual coal deposit, in June 2008 Aviva optimistically submitted an expression of interest to provide "1,000MW of baseload power production" to Eskom, the South African government-owned electricity utility, between 2012 and 2017.[10] The company has flagged that it's "team of energy experts" charged with developing the Coolimba Power Station project would also help "advance the Mmamantswe Project".[9]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 BGR Energy Study 2019 - Data and Developments in German and Global Energy Supplies (23), 200 p, Hannover, Germany
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Botswana Geosciences Insitute "Botswana Mineral Projects and Prospects", Government of Botswana Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology, and Energy Security website, 10 p, Accessed July 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harold R. Newman, "The Mineral Industry of Botswana", 2006 Minerals Yearbook, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, July 2008, page 4. (Pdf)
  4. International Energy Agency, "Coal in Botswana in 2005", International Energy Agency website, accessed August 2008.
  5. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Morupule Power Station Generation Expansion Project Palapye, Botswana, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website, undated (approx 2004).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ian Khama, "State of the Nation Address by His Excellency Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama",, November 23rd, 2009.
  7. Stewart Bailey"Morupule to feed power-hungry Botswana", Business Report (South Africa), July 13, 2006.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kabo Mokogabone, "Defiant Mmamabula developers still hopeful of project", Sunday Standard (Botswana), May 30, 2010.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Aviva Corporation, "Mmamantswe Coal Project", Aviva Corporation website, accessed August 2008.
  10. Aviva Corporation, "Power EOI Submitted to Eskom", Media Release, June 19, 2008.

External resources

External Articles