Mmamabula Energy Project

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Mmamabula Energy Project is a power station in Mmaphashalala, Central, Botswana with multiple units of varying statuses none of which are currently operating. It is also known as JMEP I.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Mmamabula Energy Project Mmaphashalala, Central, Botswana -23.609295, 26.774952 (approximate)

The map below shows the approximate location of the power station.

Loading map...

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Stage I Unit 1 pre-permit coal - unknown 300[1] unknown 2026[1]
Stage I Unit 2 pre-permit coal - unknown 300[1] unknown 2026[1]
Stage II Unit 1 cancelled coal - unknown 300 unknown
Stage II Unit 2 cancelled coal - unknown 300 unknown
Stage III Unit 1 cancelled coal - unknown 800 unknown
Stage III Unit 2 cancelled coal - unknown 800 unknown
Stage III Unit 3 cancelled coal - unknown 800 unknown

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Stage I Unit 1 Mmamabula Power Plant Development Pty Ltd [100.0%]
Stage I Unit 2 Mmamabula Power Plant Development Pty Ltd [100.0%]
Stage II Unit 1 Mmamabula Power Plant Development Pty Ltd [100.0%]
Stage II Unit 2 Mmamabula Power Plant Development Pty Ltd [100.0%]
Stage III Unit 1 Mmamabula Power Plant Development Pty Ltd [100.0%]
Stage III Unit 2 Mmamabula Power Plant Development Pty Ltd [100.0%]
Stage III Unit 3 Mmamabula Power Plant Development Pty Ltd [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Mmamabula coal mine or related coalfield, Mmamabula coalfield


The project is also referred to as JMEP I (the Jindal Mmamabula Energy Project) and is proposed in the Mmamabula Coalfield's Western Block (PL11/2004).[2][3]

Previous plans involved a 300 to 1,200+ MW coal-fired power station (Jindal's website referenced a JMEP I&II separately from JMEP I).[4]

Project history

According to project sponsor Jindal Group, which took over CIC Energy in 2012, the Mmamabula Energy Project (MEP) was a proposed 1,200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station and integrated coal mine project in Botswana that was intended to provide power to South Africa.[5]

South Africa had a target date to gazette their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) by September 2010. The plan would lay out South Africa's strategy for meeting new energy needs from 2013 onward, and include new government-owned facilities and contracts with private suppliers such as CIC Energy. South Africa said they could not commit to any Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with CIC before the IRP was approved. The delay would affect Botswana, which needed a portion of the plant's output to meet projected demand. The IRP was eventually completed in May 2011. It did not include any window for purchase of power from Mmamabula before 2019, and then the amounts purchased would be less than 1,200 MW. CIC Energy was forced to put the project on hold after investing over C$100 million.[5][6]

In April 2015, Jindal said it planned to offload 74 percent of the coal energy and mine project to South Africa’s Glendal Trading. Jindal would remain with a 26% shareholding and would also operate and manage the project. Glendal formed a South African registered company called Mmamabula Power Plant Development. Jindal, which was granted a mining licence in October 2014, planned to set up a 600 MW power plant at MEP with the off takers likely to be Eskom.[7][8]

In April 2017, it was reported that Jindal had shelved initial plans to offload 74% of its company to South Africa’s Glendal Trading.[9]

In March 2019, Jindal BVI, which owned Mmamabula Power Plant Development (Pty), was acquired by Maatla Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of MRD Holdings Ltd, which in turn owned by LiAria Trust, GMCG Trust, Botshl Trust, and Sable Trust.[10]

With no developments since April 2015, the project appeared cancelled.

However, in 2021, Botswana was reportedly pushing ahead with developing its estimated 212 billion tonnes of coal resources. India’s Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) was planning to commence construction on a coal mine in the south-eastern Mmamabula coalfields in Botswana in 2022. The mine was expected to help the firm in supplying a proposed coal power plant and the export market.[11]

In April 2021, it had shortlisted Jindal, Minergy Ltd, African Energy Resources Ltd (likely Sese Integrated Power Project), and Maatla Resources in a tender to build a 300 MW coal-fired power plant. In November 2021, the bidding for the 300 MW power plant tender was down to three after Maatla Resources pulled out, citing challenges in accessing funding among other reasons.[12]

According to Jindal Africa's website (December 2021), the power would be intended for sale to Botswana Power Corporation, Botswana’s national utility, as new baseload power generation. The cost of the capital equipment and infrastructure for JMEP I was estimated at approximately US$1 billion. The estimated construction time for the JMEP I was anticipated to be approximately 36 months from financial close. Jindal was also considering several alternatives for the development of the JMEP I.[2]

The website made clear that Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) studies that reflect a 1,200 megawatt (net) power station and certain related infrastructure, the transmission lines, and the transport corridor had been approved by the Government of Botswana. Environmental approvals for the EIA studies related to the mine had been submitted to the Government of Botswana and were pending. Environmental approvals were a prerequisite for the granting of a mining license, a power generation license, and surface rights at Mmamabula, as well as the acquisition of transmission line and other necessary servitudes in Botswana. Given these statements, the project was presumed to remain under pre-permit development, but it could have very well been permitted in most or all ways.

In fact, by the end of 2021, the single Mmamabula website page appeared to have been split into JMEP I (300 MW) and JMEP I&II (600 MW). It was unclear why the pages were divided in this way. The JMEP I&II page listed the following permitting details (December 2022):[13]

  • "[Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA)] for 4x171 MW (gross) Thermal Power Plant approved by [Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)]."
  • "ESIA is been done by DigbyWells South Africa."
  • "[Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS)] is been completed by Mott McDonalds in 2017."
  • "Water rights from Well fields received in range of 18.2 MCM."
  • "ESIA for Wellfields approved by DEA."
  • "Water Monitoring and Modelling completed by Well Field Consulting in 2017, revised and updated in 2021."

In March 2022, bidding remained competitive for the power plant. It was the only government-backed fossil fuel procurement in the 20-year Integrated Resource Plan prepared by the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.[14] Despite Botswana's plan to increase renewable energy's share of its electricity, all associated plans with the one 300 MW plant and coal mine appeared to be moving forward as planned.

In November 2022, Jindal was officially selected for the "design, finance, construction, ownership, operation, maintenance and decommissioning" of the project. Electricity generated at the plant would be sold to the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).[15]

In July 2023, Minerals and Energy minister Lefoko Moagi said: “We recently got approval from the cabinet to add another 300 MW to this greenfield project, taking it to 600 MW.” The plan was to finish the project by 2026 instead of the agreed 2028, although no time frames and costs were reportedly given for the additional 300 MW.[16] A 30-year power purchase agreement was signed July 25, 2023. The revised procurement was part of several updates made to the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity procurement between 2020 and 2040.[17]

In October 2023, Botswana's president led a groundbreaking ceremony for the power station project.[18]


As of July 2023, Jindal Steel & Power was set to finance at least 300 MW from its balance sheet.[17] It was later reported that the initial deal was extended to cover 600MW.[18] Through the IPP, Jindal will carry the costs of building the power station, running and maintaining it, while selling power to Botswana Power Corporation under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Under the original deal (300MW plant) Jindal agreed to spend $1billion to build a 4.5million tonne per annum coal mine and the power plant.[18]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Botswana doubles planned capacity of power plant to be built by India's Jindal". Reuters. 2023-07-25. Retrieved 2023-09-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Mmamabula Coalfield," Jindal Africa, accessed December 2021
  3. "Jindal Mmamabula Energy Project (JMEP I)," Jindal Africa, accessed December 2021
  4. E.g. "Jindal Mmamabula Energy Project (JMEP I&II)," Jindal Africa, accessed December 2021
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Mmamabula Energy Project," Jindal Africa, accessed February 18, 2014
  6. "Indian firm sets to revive Botswana's biggest coal power project,", April 20, 2013
  7. "Mmamabula project acquisition gets nod," Mmegi Online, April 9, 2015
  8. "Sese power plant to cost P15bn," Mmegi, June 12, 2015
  9. "Sese power project granted tax breaks," Mmegi, April 28, 2017
  10. "Merger Notice No 13 2019," Jindal BVI and Maatla Energy, March 14, 2019
  11. "Jindal to begin Botswana coal mine construction in 2022," Mining Technology, last updated November 2021
  12. "Jindal to build coal mine in Botswana," Business India, November 24, 2021
  13. "Jindal Mmamabula Energy Project (JMEP I&II)," Jindal Africa, archives accessed July 2023
  14. "Minergy says it is ready to operate the coal power plant it bid for," Business Weekly, March 23, 2022
  15. "India's Jindal wins bid to build Botswana's 300 MW coal power plant," Reuters, November 21, 2022
  16. "Botswana doubles planned capacity of power plant to be built by India's Jindal," Reuters, July 25, 2023
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Govt doubles Jindal’s 300MW contract," Mmegi, July 25, 2023
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "Jindal breaks ground to kickstart 600MW coal power plant," Energy Central, October 9, 2023

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.