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Minergy making strong progress on Masama project

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Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)-listed coal mining company, Minergy Limited, yesterday (Tuesday) released its inaugural results for the year ended 30 June 2017, reporting a loss per share of 6,76 thebe. The company embarked on a capital-raising exercise in the first quarter of 2017, raising P70 million via a private placement prior to listing on the main board of the BSE in April this year. Minergy CEO, Andre Boje commented that, “A lot of work had been done and continues to be done since inception.

Our focus shifted to coal production for supply to the regional and export markets rather than coal for power generation. “We believe the narrative around South Africa requiring imported power will not come to fruition in the foreseeable future, if at all. This is supported by the announcement that there is a surplus of 9,000 MW capacity and that South Africa has signed off-take agreements with Botswana and other SADC countries.” The demand for coal in the southern African region continues unabated with prices escalating on an ongoing basis.

The July 2017 McCloskey Coal Report highlights that South African domestic prices were 51 percent higher than the same period in 2016 and that there is strong demand from the cement, industrial and paper industries. Boje said this situation is driven by demand exceeding supply as producers are focused on fulfilling their take or pay export agreements together with the lack of investment in new projects or expansion of existing production facilities.

“The climate of under-investment in South Africa is blamed partly on political interference in the mining sector and the rise of resource nationalisation,” he explains. Initial production at Masama is earmarked to be 1.2 million tonnes of saleable coal per annum ramping up when required, as the project will have a capacity to process 3 million tonnes of run-of-mine coal per annum from first commissioning.

Whilst the initial project plan focused entirely on the 1.2 million tonnes to the regional market, Boje emphasises that attention must be paid to the export market as the API4 index price for seaborne thermal coal has risen 67 percent since 2016 and currently trades at $82.00 to $84.00 per tonne. In addition to the projections, he said “the international traders forecast that this trend could continue, albeit at slower rate, due to production cutbacks in China and delayed investment in Greenfield coal projects.

“Noteworthy is significant investment by large multinationals in coal projects in Australia which highlights their bullish view on coal going forward.”Boje added that Botswana has a significant role to play in the seaborne thermal coal market due to its large untapped coal resources and proximity to the South African coal export infrastructure. Meanwhile, it is understood that various requirements and obligations relating to the submission of a mining licence application are also being attended to, with the target date for submission being the end of September 2017.

The company has engaged extensively with the various government departments and the response has been most encouraging. It is believed that the licence will be granted by the second quarter of 2018.Requests for information (RFI) have been issued to identify qualified suppliers of the processing and wash plant and for mining contractor. This process is expected to be complete by the end of October 2017.

Talking about the industry, Boje said that renewable energy has a role to play, but it has been proven unreliable for base lzoad electricity supply with the only alternatives being nuclear, hydro and coal. This is the first year that the group expensed certain operating expenditures, which were mostly incurred at the holding company level, which acts as an investment and holding company and sources funding for the group. Cash utilised in operations amounted to a loss of P9,4million with Exploration and Evaluation Asset Expenditure also showing a loss of P5,6 million.

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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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