The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) on Monday launched a P4.8-billion ($495-million) to build an electricity transmission line to connect the northwest of the country, a centre of copper mining and tourism, to the national grid.
Domestic consumers in the region currently rely on imports from neighbouring countries, while large businesses have to resort to expensive diesel generators.
“The project will open an opportunity to reduce dependency on power imports from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia as we will have our own infrastructure to meet the local demand for electricity,” said BPC Chief Executive Stefan Schwarzfischer.
“The project will provide grid access to all sectors of the economy, with Khoemacau Mining Company already on site, while other sectors … will benefit from improved supply and reliability.”
Khoemacau, which is developing a mine due to produce 50 000 t of copper and 1.4-million ounces of silver a year, has signed up for a 30 MW supply as the project’s first customer.
Promoters of the now-mothballed Boseto mine, adjacent to Khoemacau, say they spent $3-million every month on diesel for generators.
The new line is expected to be completed in 2020.