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Seeking divine intervention

Fallout from Ukraine invasion worries Minerals Minister

Calling for divine intervention, Minister of Minerals and Energy, Lefoko Moagi has warned that the on-going Russia/Ukraine war poses huge uncertainties for the world market.

Speaking at the Botswana Resources Infrastructure Energy Forum (BRIEF) this week, the Minister stressed the geopolitical disaster has contributed significantly to growing unrest in global markets.

The west was plunged into chaos on 24 February, when Russian forces launched a large scale invasion of Ukraine. Nearly three months later, the war rages on with no end in sight.

“It would not be unusual if these events could have an influence on the mining industry as it would on other industries. There are several scenarios that could play out for the mining industry as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. While it is too early to understand the full impact of the crisis, the longer it goes on, the deeper its effects will be felt on the world markets, including minerals,” said Moagi.

Taking the volatile state of the minerals market into account, the Minister admitted concerns were understandable.

“Our hope and prayer is that a speedy resolution of the conflict will be reached,” added Moagi at the 18th edition of BRIEF where over 250 delegates were gathered.

Returning after a two-year Covid-19 enforced hiatus, the annual mining industry jamboree brought together stakeholders in Africa’s resources, energy, environmental and infrastructure projects with a particular interest in the future of energy and minerals in Botswana.

With liquid fuel one of the hardest hit sectors following the Ukraine/Russia war, Moagi revealed the development of Tshele Hills Strategic Oil Storage project is on-going.

Although stage one of the project was completed in December 2018, lack of adequate government funding necessitated the need for alternative implementation through the Public Private Partnership. As a result, in May 2019, implementation of this project was transferred from the Department of Energy to Botswana Oil limited.

“Completion of the Tshele Hills project will increase government national strategic fuel stock cover from the current 18 days to more than 40-45 days, and at least 60 days for the southern consumption envelope,” said Moagi, who did not give any indication of when the project would be up-and-running – perhaps a higher power would be kind enough to intervene in this as well!