Maatla to start on $45m Mmamabula coal project in June after Botswana gives nod

UNLISTED Maatla Resources which is developing the Mmamabula coal project in Botswana has received its mining licence and is looking to start construction of the mine by June once it has achieved financial close on the project.

CEO, Jacques Badenhorst, said the project is “… construction ready. All going to plan the first phase of the mine will be in production by June 2022 ramping up towards production of 100,000 tons/month of sized coal which will be sold to customers in South Africa.

Badenhorst told Miningmx there were no plans to list Maatla, commenting that most listed coal companies had suffered significant value destruction for their shareholders because of the drops in their share prices.

Asked how Maatla intended to raise the $45m needed for the first phase of the project Badenhorst said: “There are funds available, but only from within the coal industry”.

He declined to go into specifics, saying the details of the funding for the project should be known “within a month”. Due diligence by a potential backer was currently underway.

Coal from the first phase will be railed and/or trucked to customers in South Africa via existing routes meaning it will be sent south to Mafikeng or other border crossing points such as Martin’s Drift and Stockpoort.

Where it gets really interesting concerns the longer-term plans for the development of a separate, phase 2 mine which could produce 250,000t/month of coal for the South African and export markets.

Badenhorst said plans were to export that coal along Transnet’s line from Lephalale to Ermelo once the Botswana government had built the rail link required on the Botswana side to reach Lephalale.

But there was a second possible way of getting coal out which involved building a bridge over the Limpopo river to access the spur line to be built by Resource Generation’s (Resgen’s) proposed Boikarabelo mine to link into the main Transnet line.

That spur line has not yet been built and Resgen is experiencing major difficulty finding the funding to build its proposed mine.

“The site of our second mine is just 11 kilometres as the crow flies from Boikarabelo. We own the surface rights to the border on the Botswana side. Resgen owns the surface rights to the border on the South African side.

“We could truck the coal to Boikarabelo assuming we managed to negotiate the construction of the proposed bridge with the respective governments.”