Botswana’s mines minister Lefoko Maxwell Moagi on Tuesday said that the country wants to speed up its $4-billion project to construct a new coal-to-liquid (CTL) refinery, which is set to start operation by 2025. According to Moagi, the project is still in an early stage, but the country wants to put it and a 100-megawatt coal bed methane project into a fast track.
Botswana, with 212 billion coal reserves, one of the largest in Africa, issued a tender to construct the plant in 2017 as it seeks to strengthen its energy security. Moagi said that Botswana would exploit its coal fully, including converting it to liquids and gas.
The minister added that some Chinese banks were the potential financiers for the project as many international lenders have pushed back from fossil fuel projects. The government has also held preliminary talks with South Africa’s Sasol, a leader in CTL technology. Sasol owns Secunda refinery, which processes coal to produce synthetic fuel.