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 Climate Change

Energy
Published on: Nov. 24, 2021, 6:11 p.m.
Jindal to build coal mine in Botswana
  • From "phase out" to "phase down"

By Business India Editorial

Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) is reportedly planning to begin construction on a coal mine in the south-eastern Mmamabula coalfields in Botswana in 2022.

The mine is expected to help JSPL in supplying a proposed coal power plant and the export market, reported Reuters citing a company official. The proposed mine is anticipated to have an annual production capacity of 4.5 million tonnes of coal.

Neeraj Saxena, Jindal Botswana country head, was reported by the news agency as saying: “Work will start next year and develop in phases over two to three years. Regional demand is increasing and the South African market has an appetite for Botswana coal.”

Botswana is still looking to develop its estimated 212 billion tonnes of coal resources, contrary to the growing trend of relinquishing fossil fuels. Earlier this month at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the government agreed to the global pledge of reducing coal consumption.

The country, however, withdrew from the commitment to end granting new coal mining licences. Over the next 20 years, Botswana has pledged to raise renewable energy share in its electricity from the existing two per cent to 18 per cent.

Despite the global shift from coal, Botswana is pushing ahead with developing its estimated 212 billion tonnes of coal resources. In April, it shortlisted Jindal, Minergy Ltd, African Energy Resources and Maatla Resources in a tender to build a 300 MW coal-fired power plant.

At the COP26 climate conference this month Botswana signed up to a global commitment to reduce the use of coal, but opted out of a pledge to stop issuing new coal mining licences. A last-minute intervention by India and China just before the conclusion of the climate talks changed a requested coal “phase out” to a “phase down”. The bidding for the 300MW power plant tender is down to three after Maatla Resources pulled out, citing challenges in accessing funding among other reasons.


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