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Australia’s IPP,FQM granted mining license in Botswana

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Power generation and export licenses yet to be granted

TSHIAMO TABANE

Australia based Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) African Energy Resources (AFR) and First Quantum Minerals (FQM) have been granted a license to start mining coal at Sese.
AFR last week indicated that the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security granted it a license which allows for construction of open pit coal mine, mining of coal and erection of buildings and coal processing infrastructure necessary for the power project to be implemented.
The company intends to build an initial 450 MW power station with 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) coal mine and eventually expand the power project as coal production increases.  “Granting of the mining license is an important step towards finalizing the permits for the project, with the generation and export license being the only major outstanding permit required before the project can commence,” AFR said in a recent market update.  It indicated that applications for generation and export license would be made in due course and once the licenses are approved, the project will be fully permitted. “We are finalizing documentation to apply for a generation and export license and we will continue to assess power market opportunities in the southern African region suitable for expansions of the power project,” states the company. AFR management say they are currently developing power sales agreement to export Sese power to Zambia and added that grid connection in this country allows exporting of power to South Africa and Namibia.
The licensed area covers an area of 51.47km2 and contains 650 million tonnes of coal. AFR has indicated that the Sese prospecting area contains a total of around 5 billion tonnes of coal resource which is more than enough and of higher quality for the currently contemplated power project at Sese. According to AFR the coal can also fuel multiple 450MW power stations for 35 years. “The licensed area also contains enough land outside the boundary of the coal resource for the placement of multiple power stations and all necessary supporting infrastructure,” AFR Managing Director Frazer Tabeart said.
Tabeart stated that the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the project was approved by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and this covers the planned 450 MW power station, associated coal mine and related infrastructure, including an access corridor to the main A1 highway and regional transmission grid.
“The license was granted based on the approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and the feasibility studies that have confirmed that it’s commercially viable to operate the mine and the power stations,” said the Managing Director. He added that the Environmental and Social Impacts Assessment and Environmental Management Plan for the expanded power station and coal mine which can produce 4 mtpa of coal were completed and have been submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs.
AFR says the Sese Joint Venture shareholder FQM has committed AUD $7 million to advance the project and the funding is for activities such as evaluation of the proposed power station site to assess strength of sub‐surface conditions with respect to footings for the power station boilers, turbines and generators. AFR is yet to complete power station design and layout and obtain quotes on the costs of constructing the initial 450 MW power plant.

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