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BSE-listed Minergy, the coal mining and trading company owning 100% of the 390-million tonne Masama coal project has provided the market with an update on the status of the project.

Morné du Plessis, Minergy CEO, says, “We have come such a long way and are pleased with developments at the mine site. We are extremely excited about the future of the project, our ability to supply coal into the region, the highly experienced team responsible for executing the plan, as well as our capacity to contribute towards a viable coal sector in Botswana.”

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Minergy previously reported that mine infrastructure, including extensive civil work, power reticulation, water reticulation systems, access roads, weighbridges offices and workshops, had been completed. The mine box cut was ahead of schedule.

In terms of the mining operation, in excess of 2.2 million m3 of overburden material was moved by July 2019.

The level of service and support received from the opencast mining contractor Jarcon Opencast Mining is key to this achievement and speaks clearly of their commitment. Furthermore, the mine site and plant are fully electrified.

“During early July 2019, the plant had successfully passed both electricity connectivity and leak tests and we are pleased to report that it is now fully operational, producing saleable coal.”

Plant upgrades are ongoing to improve efficiencies and provide consistency in both product quality and sizing.

“The Masama Coal Project has an excellent quality coal product within sustainable coal seams, and as such, has received significant interest from regional companies. Minergy has successfully moved product to South Africa and Namibia.”

The smaller Botswana market is also targeted and Minergy believes it will be able to provide competitive pricing.

As a norm the customer will be responsible for logistics of the coal. Minergy will focus on its core strength, which is the marketing of coal.

“From our interactions with sub-contractors, moving coal on behalf of our customers, they have experienced smooth border transitions. The logistics companies are highly efficient and ensure all paperwork is in place and their agents do pre-clearance at their offices at the border posts,” du Plessis indicates.

The company is not currently focused on supplying product to the power generation market and will assess this on a case-by-case basis albeit that a business case is developing with the shortfall experienced by the South African Power utility, Eskom.

“We have certain qualities that are perfect for power producers and this can easily be accessed and utilised in the future,” du Plessis explains.