Botswana-based coal miner Minergy, which owns and operates the Masama coal mine in the Mmamabula coalfield, exported its first coal by rail to South Africa on July 17.
The coal was loaded onto trucks and transported 60 km to the rail siding at Tshele Hills, where the first of three trains – bound for an industrial client in the cement sector in South Africa – set off.
The initial train consisted of 50 wagons, with each wagon carrying about 53 t of coal product, equating to roughly 2 650 t in total.
Minergy CEO Morné du Plessis says this is a significant achievement not only for Minergy but also for the export of coal from Botswana.
“To watch the first train of export coal being loaded and knowing that the product reached the client, is certainly something to celebrate.”
He adds that the first export was made possible by the commitment of and funding to develop the siding received from Botswana Railways. “This method of transportation of coal greatly aids efficiency, cutting out time-consuming border crossings and minimising Covid-19 exposure.”
Minergy remains dedicated to ensuring skills transfer, training and the establishment of opportunities for local business in Botswana. To this end, a tender process for the transportation of coal from the mine to the rail siding was opened, which will include participation by local transporters.
In this regard, some local transporters were already used during this initial move of coal product from the mine to the rail siding.
Minergy envisages that an offtake agreement for regular supply to the South African client’s coal yard will soon be in place. The conclusion of this additional offtake agreement is not only important to further diversify Minergy’s client base, but it also represents Minergy’s first predominantly rail delivery client offtake agreement.
With its now confirmed capability to deliver product to clients by rail, Minergy will also pursue opportunities with industrial customers in the Western Cape that have rail yards attached to their operations.
Du Plessis indicates that the second train is being loaded and should be in South Africa at the start of the weekend.