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Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR)
Coal, Coal Bed Methane and Power Regulation Workshop, Gaboro...
17/10/09
On the 26th January 2009, the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources conducted a workshop on Coal, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and Power regulation at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC).

On the 26th January 2009, the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources conducted a workshop on Coal, Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and Power regulation at Gaborone International Convention Centre (GICC). The workshop was held in collaboration with the World Bank who served mainly as facilitators.

The workshop is viewed as a representation of the Government of Botswana's initial step in her attempt to articulate a Vision for the Development of Coal and Coal Bed Methane for Botswana. The Botswana Government considers Coal and Coal Bed Methane to be an essential part of a strategy to ensure energy security, diversity of Botswana's mineral industry and promote the overall economic growth. In the future, it is expected that Coal and Coal Bed Methane will benefit the citizens of Botswana in a similar way as the diamond industry.

Botswana's vast Coal reserves have been well known for years and recent exploration activities have suggested a substantial potential for Coal Bed Methane. However, it must be mentioned that Coal production has remained modest due to Botswana's reliance on imported low-cost South African power and this has resulted in stalled Coal Bed Methane production in the country. After the power crisis that hit the region late in 2007, Botswana has been forced to progressively scale back its electricity imports which will cease by 2012. In order to provide electricity, which is vital in sustaining the economic and social life of the Nation, the Botswana Government needs to ensure the development of new Coal and Coal Bed Methane resources to add to the energy mix.

In order to come up with a "road map" that will inform the efficient development of Coal and Coal Bed Methane, the Government of Botswana intends to involve a group made up of diverse stakeholders. The group will include representatives from the industry, financiers, academia and the civil society. Follow up to the workshop will include the formation of multi-stakeholder working groups to further define the specific modalities to address the Coal and Coal Bed Methane issues identified by stakeholders within a context specific to Botswana. In addition, the World Bank will provide policy advice regarding Coal and Coal Bed Methane development; and associated downstream power sector regulatory reforms; to ensure that the process is informed by globally accepted practices.

Informed by the outcomes of the workshop, the Government of Botswana has requested additional stakeholder input for Coal and Coal Bed Methane issues on:

(a) Policy and regulatory reforms that stimulate investments in an orderly fashion while at the same time ensuring equitable sharing of benefits and effective sector administration.

(b) Acceptable environmental, social protection, mitigation measures and trade-offs associated with alternative Coal and Coal Bed Methane development options.


(c) Public private partnership arrangements that encourage shared - use infrastructure especially for Coal exports and gas transmission.

In summation, the development of the road map is a process that will take several months, as working groups will have to clearly define key issues and draw subsequent recommendations. The Government of Botswana remains committed to a well - established practice of good sector governance and ensure that the development of natural resources benefits the nation for generations to come.

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