President Masisi says Europe wants a million tonnes of coal from Botswana every year.

President Masisi says Europe wants a million tonnes of coal from Botswana every year.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Tuesday that Botswana has been swamped with requests to supply coal to Europe, with projections that demand from Western countries could reach a million tonnes per year, as the Ukraine conflict compels Europe to look to Africa for energy resources. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the end of February, Europe has moved to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, which many European nations traditionally relied on, and has turned to other sources of energy, notably coal.

This might open the floodgates to African coal supplies, driving up prices and encouraging investment in the continent.

“We’ve had requests from Europe, therefore we want to (export),” Masisi told Reuters in Cape Town, where he was a featured speaker at the Mining Indaba conference. According to the International Energy Agency, Botswana’s coal production is modest, and it is largely sold to neighboring nations. It does, however, want to enhance production.

Masisi stated that Botswana has seen demand in Europe from both governments and the business sector, and that demand might reach more than 50,000 tonnes per month.

In the same interview, Botswana’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology, and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, stated the country could match the demand, while Masisi said the country wants to do so “as soon as feasible.”

Coal prices have more than quadrupled since the start of the year, and mining corporations are scrambling to increase production and profit from the high prices, even as pressure mounts on companies and countries to phase out high-polluting coal. “Typically, they want 50,000 tonnes per month,” Moagi said, “but we’ve also had others (inquiring about) long-term contracts, and we’re looking at a million tonnes per year from individual countries together.”

President Masisi, on the other hand, emphasized that all parties were committed to decreasing carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.”Clearly, there will be some responsibility arrangements in how we use coal so that we don’t produce a lot of pollution,” he explained.

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