Botswana mulls power expansion plan
Southern African country Botswana, as part of its plan to grow electricity capacity and roll-out to rural areas, is looking to increase the capacity of the Morupule power station.

The station currently has a capacity of 132 MW and, after a successful feasibility study last year, the Botswana Power Corporation will be installing four 100 MW coal-fired air-cooled units.

The first units are expected to come on line in 2009, followed by the next two units in 2010, while further expansion for the power station is planned for between 2013 and 2020, depending on the level of base-load power demand.

Over the last few years, the corporation has found demand growing at an average of 10% a year.

About 70% of electrical energy requirements are met through power imports from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) countries, mainly from Eskom in South Africa.

The balance is met through internal generation at the country's only power station, the Morupule power station, which comprises four 33 MW coal-fired air-cooled units.

Yet any surplus capacity in the region is likely to run out between 2007 and 2010 and the country has embarked on the project to expand power generation.

Last month, a tender for financial consultants closed and now it has invited consultants to look into sourcing extra water.

After the expansion, water consumption will increase significantly to two-million m3 by 2023 as a result of the phased expansion.

This increase, says the corporation, cannot be supported by the existing Paje wellfields, which are currently supplying the existing power station with about 570 000 m3 a year.

As a result, it intends carrying out groundwater resource investigation to increase the confidence level in the available quantity and quality of water in the identified area and has issued a tender in this regard.

The Botswana Power Corporation has invited consultants to apply to the corporation for a tender involving groundwater resource investigation and development.

While site visits on a voluntary basis are encouraged, these are not a prerequisite for tendering, according to the tender.

The corporation, a parastatal formed in 1970, has already introduced various assistance schemes to facilitate the electrification process throughout the country.

Such schemes support the extensive village electrification programme run by the corporation, which electrifies at least seven villages each year.

The Morupule power station, which is adjacent to a colliery, provides about 80% of the country's domestic power generation.

In 2003, Joy Mining South Africa indicated that it had been awarded an order to supply continuous-mining and batch-haulage equipment to Morupule Colliery.

The colliery, which is a division of Debswana, is the source of coal for the station and had previously used conventional cutters and loaders with shuttle cars for batch haulage.

After between 12 and 15 years of mining coal in this manner, the mine decided to modernise its mining operation away from being a small drill-and-blast coal-mine.

Current production is in the region of a million tons. However, demand from the power station means that coal-mine production would have to rise to some 3,4-million tons.

The mine currently has a life-of-mine of about 8 000 years and is pushing out 980 000 t/y.

This change to continuous mining methods was in response to the planned expansion of the power station, which is expected to consume 1,3-million tons of coal by 2007.

This market is supplemented by a demand of some 800 000 t of coal by the local potash and brick-making industry and the local hospitals.

To supply this quantity of coal, Morupule colliery was anticipating having to operate a total of three continuous-miner sections.

Joy was to deliver the equipment to Morupule colliery in January 2004.

Other than Morupule, reserve power is provided by international grid connections with South Africa to Gaborone and with Zambia and Zimbabwe to Francistown.

The national grid has dedicated extensions to the diamond-mines at Orapa and the Soda Ash Project at Sua Pan from Francistown, and the Jwaneng diamond-mine from Gaborone.

Closing date for tenders for the consultancy aspect of the station's expansion project is at 12:00 on October 12.


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Published: 2005/10/05
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Author: nicola mawson
Portfolio: Contributing Editor Online
E-mail: newsdesk@engineeringnews.co.za

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2006/02/17
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17 February 2006
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