JSPL's African arm to build Botswana coal mine next year
Gaborone/IBNS: Indian industrial major Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) will construct a coal mine in Botswana's Mmamabula coalfields in 2022 to cater to the export market and supply a planned coal-fired power plant, Reuters reported.
JSPL's African arm aims to produce 4.5 million tonnes of coal annually from the upcoming mine, the report said.
At a time when demand for a ban on coal-based power is growing, the southern African nation is giving impetus to developing their 212 billion tonnes of coal resources.
Earlier this year, Botswana had finalised Jindal Africa, Minergy Ltd, African Energy Resources Ltd and Maatla Resources in a tender to build a 300 MW coal-fired power plant in April.
At the recently held COP26 climate conference in Scotland's Glasgow, Botswana had agreed to a global commitment of cutting down the use of coal but later opted out of a pledge to stop issuing fresh coal mining licences.
India and China led an intervention just before the conclusion of the climate talks to request a change from coal "phase out" to a "phase down".
Currently, three companies -- African Energy Resources, Jindal Africa and Minergy -- are in the race for the 300 MW coal-based power plant after Maatla Resources pulled out, a Reuters report said.
Australia's African Energy Resources, with plans to spin off its coal operations into an unlisted entity, is taking part in the bidding.
Minergy, which owns the country's only operating privately-owned coal mine, has also said it will go ahead with the bid, the Reuters report stated.
Botswana aims to raise renewable energy's share of its electricity to 18 percent from the current two percent over the next two decades, Reuters reported.
The landlocked African country's coal plant is their only planned fossil fuel-based power project, it added.