Cape Town, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 January 2010 – A railway line to transport coal from Botswana to a port in Namibia could be built within five years, in time to allow Canadian-listed CIC Energy – a Tau Capital Group company listed on the Toronto and Botswana Stock Exchanges – to export coal from its Mmamabula energy complex in Botswana.
“Once granted government approval, a feasibility study for the 1 500km Trans-Kalahari line would be launched within the next six months,” CIC chief operating officer for mining Eddie Scholtz, told Reuters on the sidelines of a coal exports conference here. “The plan is to complete the line about a year after the Mmamabula energy project comes on stream,” Scholtz added.
Reuters reports that CIC “’ which plans to export between around 16 million tonnes of coal per year through the port at Walvis Bay “’ has joined a consortium with other producers and development agencies to make the project more feasible and to gain economies of scale. “Increasing the tonnage to 50 to54 million tonnes per year makes the project much more viable and robust,” said Scholtz.
The consortium includes diversified miner Exxaro, AIIM, Maropule, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Development Bank of Namibia.
While CIC is not excluding the possibility of exports out of the Richards Bay coal terminal in South Africa and the Dobela port in Mozambique, the Trans-Kalahari line seems to be the best option for now, according to Scholtz. The company has received significant interest for its coal from Europe.
“There’s enormous appetite from Europe not only because of the high grade, but also because of the fact that we are looking at the west coast which does offer them shipping advantages,” he said.
Scholtz said it would cost between US$2 and US$4 million (R15 million and R30 million) to build a kilometre of the rail line.