Mmamabula Coalfield

  • Global mineral resource estimate of approximately 2.4 billion tonnes (99% in the measured category)
  • Thermal coal qualities suitable for export market, domestic power generation and for coal gasification

Location & Landholdings

CIC Energy’s coal resource is located in the Mmamabula Coalfields of southeastern Botswana, adjacent to the country’s main road and rail corridor which links the country’s capital, Gaborone, with its second largest city, Francistown.

The Mmamabula Coalfields form the western extension of South Africa’s Waterberg Coalfield, which contains approximately forty percent South Africa’s coal resources, along with Eskom’s 3,690 MW (net capacity) Matimba power station and Exxaro Resources Limited’s 19 million sales tonnes per annum Grootegeluk coal mine.  Exxaro has also been contracted to supply a further 14 million tonnes per annum to Eskom’s 4,800 MW Medupi power station, now under construction.

The two prospecting licences, RL2009/1R (also referred to as the Central Block), and PL11/2004 (divided into the Eastern and Western Blocks) are 100% owned by CIC Energy subsidiaries. The total area for the two licences is 295.4 square kilometers (km2).

The Central Block is the site of the planned coal mine (Serorome Mine) envisaged to supply the Mmamabula Energy Project’s (“MEP”) 1,200 (net) MW power station.  The anticipated capacity of this coal mine will be approximately 6.3 million metric run of mine tonnes per year, yielding 4.7 million metric sales tonnes per year.

The 1.3 million sales tonne per annum (mtpa) mine that will support the planned 300 (gross) MW Domestic Power Project (“DPP”) will be located in the Western Block (PL11/2004) and will utilize about one-third of this block as per the  layout below.

Geology, Exploration & Mineral Resources

Since commencement of exploration by CIC Energy and its predecessor, Coal Investment Corp., in mid-2005, up to twelve drill rigs have been active concurrently on CIC Energy’s Mmamabula Coal Field. In excess of 165,000 metres have been drilled in approximately 2,000 holes and the exploration drilling program is now largely complete.

In March 2011, CIC Energy announced a mineral resource estimate of approximately 2.4 billion tonnes as per Table 1.

Table 1 - Mmamabula In Situ Mineral Resource Estimate (D1 + M2 + D2 Upper Seams: Western, Central and Eastern Blocks)

(effective date: March 31, 2011)

Category Tonnage
(Mt)
Measured 2,389.81
Indicated 7.52
Measured + Indicated (total) 2,397.33
Inferred 3.08


The three coal-bearing areas defined within CIC Energy’s Mmamabula  project area (Western, Central and Eastern Blocks) have drill hole spacings that are typically set at 500 metres (“m”) by 500 m or less.

Of the 2.4 billion tonnes of in situ coal at the Mmamabula Coal Field, work done by CIC Energy’s mining team indicates that the resource can potentially deliver an extractable tonnage of 1.5 billion tonnes (run of mine).  This estimate is based on applying open cast mining methods over 30% of the area and bord and pillar with pillar extraction underground mining methods for the remainder of the resource.

Based on the analysis that has been performed, CIC Energy anticipates that the 1.5 billion tonnes of run of mine production could yield, after beneficiation, the following coal products: 112 Mt of thermal coal suitable for domestic on-site power generation and 900 Mt suitable for thermal export coal. This product mix is based on the typical coal qualities suited for these potential markets. The estimated qualities and quantities of these coal products are included in Figure 5 below.

1The qualities and quantities of the coal products are estimates based upon the following: interpretation of geologic data obtained from drill holes and other sampling techniques, feasibility studies that derive estimates of cash operating costs based upon anticipated tonnage and grades of coal to be mined and processed, ground conditions, the configuration of the coal seams, expected recovery rates of coal from the seams, estimated sales revenues and operating costs from coal beneficiation activities, anticipated climatic conditions and other factors. No assurances can be given that the indicated qualities or quantities of coal will be produced.  In particular, any change to the quality requirements or change to the mining methods as a result of production cost inputs would impact the coal product quantities.

Based on quality and thickness, three economic coal seams have been identified as the principal economic targets at CIC Energy’s Mmamabula Coal Field; these are the D1, D2 Upper and M2 seams. On the main Mmamabula PL11/2004 licence, the seams are relatively flat lying and in the areas of economic interest occur at depths of less than 140 m below surface. The D1, D2 Upper and M2 seams have average mineable thickness of approximately five, three and three metres, respectively.

Coal qualities across the Mmamabula licence area are mostly suitable for thermal power generation with raw coal calorific values (“CV”) for the major seams being approximately 20.3 megajoules per kilogram (“MJ/kg”) for the D1 seam and 22.6 MJ/kg for the M2 seam. Work to date by CIC Energy on the M2 seam, indicates that coal qualities generally increase from west to east, with the potential for higher-quality export coal in the M2 seam of the Western and Eastern Blocks.

Based on current mining cost parameters, approximately 30% of the Mmamabula coal resource could be extracted economically by open cut mining methods and underground bord and pillar mining methods using conventional continuous miners is being planned for the remaining 70%. Alternative mining methods (such as underground long wall extraction) that could further optimize resource utilization are also being investigated.

Washability (beneficiation) tests have shown that for a large portion of the resource, it is possible to beneficiate the coal to produce an export quality coal, as well as a lower quality coal suitable for on-site power generation and/or gasification. The relatively high sulphur contents, which average 1.8 %in the raw coal, could easily be reduced to less than 1% through beneficiation.

Table 2 is a summary of the total resource base showing tonnages, and thicknesses of the various seams in the different areas.

Qualified Person, Quality Assurance/Quality Control and Methodology

CIC Energy filed a NI 43-101 compliant Sixth Technical report, on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) on September 29, 2008. The report was entitled “CIC Energy Corp.: Mmamabula Energy Complex, Southeastern Botswana, Project No. J912, National Instrument 43-101 Sixth Technical Report.”

For the Sixth Technical Report, Mr. Grant van Heerden, Pr.Sci.Nat., of SRK Consulting (South Africa) (Pty) Limited (“SRK”) has reviewed, in principal, the processes and procedures used at the Mmamabula site in Botswana to generate geological information (drilling, logging and sampling) for input into the geological models.  SRK concur with the procedures and methodologies used by the Company for geological model construction (physical models and coal quality models) as well as with the definition of coal resource blocks.  Mr. van Heerden is a member of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions and is deemed a “Competent Person” under the South African SAMREC Code.

As discussed above, on August 14, 2009 CIC Energy issued a news release updating the mineral resource estimates in the Sixth Technical Report to account for the relinquishment of some of the original licence area, as part of the required process to renew the prospecting licences. Then on March 31, 2011 CIC Energy issued another news release announcing an update of this mineral resource estimate to 2.4 Bt.

Coal analyses were conducted by Witlab (Pty) Limited (“Witlab”) in Witbank, South Africa and M & L Inspectorate (Pty) Limited (“M & L”) in Middelburg, South Africa. Witlab and M & L are independent of CIC Energy and specialize in the sampling and analysis of coal. M & L has accreditation through the South African National Accreditation System (Facility Accreditation Number: T0313) and Witlab is in the process of obtaining such accreditation.