Work is due to begin on Botswana’s second privately owned coal mine in the first quarter of next year, the CEO of Maatla Resources, Reuters reported. Maatla was awarded a license in February and had hoped to start building the 1.2-million-metric-ton (mt)-per-year mine this year, but was stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic and regulatory delays.

“The target is to reach financial close by February next year and then immediately start building the mine,” Maatla CEO Jacques Badenhorst said. “First production is expected within 12 to 15 months.” Badenhorst said the target market for the mine included cement manufacturers and boiler operators in South Africa, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Namibia.

Botswana has an estimated 200-billion mt of coal reserves.