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Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR)
Minister tours Storm Water Dam Project and Power Turbines in...
Minister tours Storm Water Dam Project and Power Turbines in Orapa

The problem of quality and salinity in underground water is often experienced in Botswana and desalination technology would offer much needed relief. MMEWR’s challenge is to provide water to the Southern thirsty Botswana where water is most saline. The Ministry does have the responsibility to address the looming power deficit hence the 2007 law amendment to allow for Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Institutions helping to address the challenges deserve compliments. The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe has reason to appreciate efforts like the 90MW Power Turbines being executed at Orapa and Debswana’s Storm Water Storage Dam which are at the heart of his Ministry’s initiatives. The two projects impressed the Minister who denied himself a cabinet recess to tour them on May 14. Government is to spend an estimated P850 million in the execution of the entire power project, an IPP following amendment of the legislation. The cost of the two dual-fuel turbines is P250 million.

The turbines will initially use diesel and switch to Coal Bed Methane gas in future from Mmashoro. Other components of the project are a diesel storage area and water treatment plant. IEG from Slovakia is an EPCM contractor.

The General Manager of Orapa and Letlhakane Mines, Mr. Mmetla Masire said in his project update that the Water Treatment Plant would remove harmful elements to turbines through reverse osmosis. Each engine consumes 17 000 litres of diesel per hour hence the need for a diesel facility to store 1.5 million litres. The cost of generation is expected to be competitive and sustainable when the units start running on gas.

Mr. Masire said the project, which started in October/November 2009, was on schedule for October 2010 completion and handover to Botswana Power Corporation whose infrastructure, adjacent to the turbines will be completed almost simultaneously. The turbines will feed into the BPC grid for national use.
Meanwhile, Debswana’s Storm Water Dam has contributed to a reduction in flooding of the mine plant when it rains and costs of meeting water requirements at the plant through amongst others drilling of boreholes, pumping and maintenance of engines. Debswana constructed the dam at P58 million and that saved the company P38 million that could have been used in drilling seven boreholes.

Water harvested from the township and excess water from the mine plant is trapped in the receiving dam before being pumped into the lined storage dam. The water is recycled for use at the mine only.

OLMs Engineering Manager, Mr. Moemedi Tseleng said the project is part of the water conservation and management initiative through the strategy of rain water harvesting. With a mean rainfall of 382mm in the area, Debswana targeted to harvest one million cubic meters from the ground. The Collection Dam has a capacity of 350, 000 cubic meters (350 mega litres) and the Transfer Dam 650, 000 cubic meters (650 mega litres).

The main aim of the project was to reduce water abstraction from the well field. The Dam was completed in 2009 to alleviate water shortage during the dry season. Debswana embraced the idea of harvesting water from roofs within the township on realization of being in an area not so much endowed with water.
If other mining houses could emulate the success of Debswana in this regard, shortage of underground water could be minimized.

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