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Renewal of prospecting licenses in Botswana

Oilfield Technology,

Aviva Corp. Ltd is pleased to announce that the Mmamantswe coal prospecting licenses in Botswana have been renewed for a further 2 years.

This second renewal required a 50% reduction in the first renewal area and the two prospecting licenses (PL070 and PL069) have now been consolidated into a single license PL069 covering 453.7 km2. The new prospecting licence encompasses more than 12 times the area of the Mmamantswe deposit and retains access to Botswana’s main infrastructure corridor, 40 km to the west.

A probable reserve of 895 million t was estimated for Mmamantswe by SRK Consulting in 2010 and studies have demonstrated the project could yield 200 million t of export grade thermal coal and an additional 100 – 150 million t of coal for the production of domestic power.

Aviva’s consultant Earthtec has completed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for Mmamantswe. The Earthtec report does not identify any major environmental impediments and formal meetings with government stakeholders are scheduled in late May 2012 to finalise the EIA report.

Lindsay Reed, CEO of Aviva, said “The renewal of the prospecting licenses is further good news for Mmamantswe following on the very positive outcome of the Coal Road Map Review. Mmamantswe is the only coal development project in Botswana with a JORC reserve estimate. It has a very low strip ratio, a defined 8 billion l/year water resource, and close proximity to both transmission (under construction) for domestic and export power markets, and to the proposed spur to the Trans Kalahari railway. Aviva is considering options to add to its coal portfolio in Botswana.”

The key outcomes of the Coal Road Map Review in Botswana were as follows:

  • Overhauling the coal licensing regime to ensure licenses are issued to entities with adequate resources and capacity to develop a mine and associated infrastructure.
  • Establishment of a dedicated unit to facilitate the coal development process.
  • Identification of export coal, export power and domestic power as the key target markets for the emerging coal sector. 
  • Ultimate production targets of 90 million tpa of export coal and 30 million tpa of domestic coal.  
  • Commitment to completing Government-sponsored preliminary feasibility studies on both the Trans Kalahari rail route to the west and the Ponto Technobane rail route to the east, with a view to identifying a preferred route by the end of 2012. 
  • Commitment to the roll-out of independent power projects (IPPs) as a critical domestic market for middlings (lower energy by-product of export coal production). 
  • The announcement of a 400 kV transmission line through the Mmamantswe licenses to a new substation within 30 km of the Mmamantswe project.

Adapted from a press release by Lauren Bryant

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