SSI Engineers and Environmental Consultants, in partnership with ADP Projects, have been working on the Morupule Colliery Expansion Project for almost three years. Morupule Colliery Ltd (MCL) is Botswana's only operating coal mine, and has been in production since 1973, successfully progressing from a conventional drill and blast operation to a mechanised continuous miner operation in 2004.
(Seen left: Conveyor 18.02 drive station, 2 x 250 kW, VFC-controlled motors).
The coal mine is situated in the eastern part of Botswana, approximately 14 km west of Palapye on the road to Serowe. The Morupule lease area contains a world class coal deposit, of which the coal is a medium to low grade sub-bituminous coal suitable for steam raising. The seam being mined is generally uniform, approximately 8,0 m thick, and the mining horizon has very few or no markers within it. Mining horizon is typically controlled by mining with 1,0 m of coal in the floor, and a mining height of 4,2 m. Approximately 2,5 m of coal remains in the roof after mining. The mine life extends to at least 2032 (period of lease).
Botswana currently obtains majority of its power from Eskom in neighbouring South Africa. The current agreement with Eskom runs out in 2012 at which time Botswana will need to supply the country with power generated by the Morupule complex. The Botswana government has authorised BPC to build a new 600 MW coal fired power station, and in return BPC has requested the Colliery to expand production to 2,8 Mtpa in order to supply the new power station for a period of 23 years.
ADP Projects is the appointed Engineering Contractor and SSI is appointed for the complete Electrical, Control and Instrumentation (C&I) design, procurement and commissioning support. SSI's involvement began in the pre‐feasibility phase and has continued through Feasibility, Detailed Design and Implementation and the project is currently in the final weeks of the Construction and Commissioning phase.
The scope of the project is to upgrade the existing mining infrastructure, materials handling systems, and processing plant in order to increase the total coal production from +1 Mtpa to +3,2 Mtpa. The upgrade will result in an electrical load increase for the mine from 4,0 MVA to 16 MVA.
The colliery is situated in Palapye, in eastern Botswana and delivers coal to the Morupule Power Station owned by the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), which is currently being upgraded to 600 MW.
The mine is an underground operation with access down an incline shaft to a depth of approximately 80 m. The underground infrastructure is being expanded in order to deliver sufficient coal to the surface plant and a new crushing and screening plant with associated surface stockpiles.