The Projects Issue 5, Vol 2

Welcome to the September-October edition.

September was an eventful month full of exciting developments, key among them is the inaugural Debswana Business Seminar and the commissioning of Morupule Coal Mine’s Motheo Project by President Mokgweetsi Masisi. While many would grudgingly accept this fact — mining will continue to be the driver of Botswana’s economy in the next foreseeable future.

The inaugural Debswana Business Seminar, which anchors this edition, is the brainchild of the new Managing Director of Debswana, Mr. Andrew Maatla Motsomi, and replaces the annual MD Stakeholder Business Update. The new format aims to expand the scope of engagement beyond reporting performance to stakeholders. Its key intention is to have interactive and meaningful conversations around issues that affect Debswana, its stakeholders and the industry, for wide appreciation through knowledge-sharing and feedback.

As Debswana Board Chairman, and De Beers Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bruce Cleaver said, with this new approach, Debswana aims to provide greater clarity, transparency, and insight for all stakeholders regarding the diamond industry in general and the Debswana business in particular.

It is indeed true — based on the Business Seminar deliberations — that the conversations were eye-opening to many, and brought on board many stakeholders who have been watching from the sidelines for many years. Debswana is becoming intimate with its stakeholders, which, admittedly, is one of the best decisions in terms of the company’s new direction.

Debswana is the country’s most important company, and nearly single-handedly, the driver of the Botswana’s economy. Not only is the company going all out to bring onboard Citizen Owned Companies through its groundbreaking Citizen Economic Empowerment Programme (CEEP), the company is also making it essential for a wider audience to understand its business and direction. This is the clarity that Cleaver was talking about. No more obscurity.

The Business Seminar comes at a very critical time, when the world is starting to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic that has shaped global events over the past two and half years. Very few companies — big or small — can confidently say they were not disrupted by the pandemic. Debswana was not spared, but thanks to its responsive leadership, the company weathered the storm, and it is back to its best. We now face new challenges, in the form of geopolitical tensions and the associated economic pressures.

Debswana has the new captain in Andrew Motsomi, a man who spent the majority of his professional life at the country’s central bank — his last position, as the Deputy Governor. He comes in at time when Debswana’s role in Botswana’s new development agenda cannot be over emphasized, be it taking the lead in Citizen Economic Empowerment initiatives, renewable energy programs or diversifying the economy though development of other industries.

Another important development in September, was the commissioning of Motheo Project following its completion. It was commissioned by President Masisi. The project was completed on time, following groundbreaking — performed by the President— in November 2021. Motheo Project is an important part of the rejuvenated Morupule Coal Mine, which is now capitalizing on global demand for coal, especially in Asia.

Botswana’s untapped coal resources are sitting at an estimated 212 billion tonnes, which the country must take full advantage of, as suggested by President Masisi during his speech.  He indicated that, a review of the coal market suggests that the customers requiring coal, mostly in the European and Asian countries, are prepared to pay premium prices for higher grades supply of coal anywhere.

Motheo Project will increase the current Morupule Coal Mine production capacity from 2.8 million to 4.2 million tonnes of coal per annum. The project will increase MCM market share regionally, and allow MCM to enter new markets; Asia and Europe, and will also improve resource utilisation and realise potential asset value, and also reduce the risk a single source of coal supply – the underground mine.

Morupule Coal Mine has become ambitious, and all of us will benefit from its new direction. The company will increase its revenue from P1 billion to P3 billion starting 2023. This means economic growth and newer job opportunities.

We also have many other developments covered in this edition. Thank you for your loyalty, and enjoy your read.

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