Botswana is flooded with enquiries for coal supply to Europe and sees a market of over a million tonne per year in the West, its President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Tuesday, as the Ukraine war forces Europe to pivot to Africa for the so-called dirty fuel.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in end February, inviting sanctions from Europe and the U.S., it has practically cut of supplies of natural gas from Russia that many European nations heavily depend on.
This has forced Europe to look at other parts of the world to meet its fuel demand, including coal, opening the flood gates to coal supplies from Africa, shooting up its prices and attracting investments.
"We have received inquiries from Europe and so we want to evacuate," said the President in an interview with Reuters, adding that the demand has been from both the governments and the private sector in Europe and supplies could be more than 50,000 tonnes a month.
Coal prices have more than doubled since the beginning of the year and mining companies are scrambling to pump up production and benefit from high prices, even as there is a risng pressure on companiea and countries to retire coal consumption.
"Everybody is committed to the Paris Agreement even those that we sell it to. So, clearly, there will be some responsibility arrangements in how to use the coal so that we don't cause a lot of pollution" he said.
We want to use it in a manner that would be consistent with a window period allowed for investment," Masisis said, adding that the country desrevs a fair chance to develop and industrialise.
He said the country would like to supply to Europe "as soon as possible."
We will sign the contracts and if they want it, we will give it to them, but Botswana Prez.
(Reporting by Wendell Roelf and Promit Mukherjee)