Delays stall multimillion maloti Peka energy project




MASERU – The Peka community last Saturday held a prayer meeting to seek divine intervention for a planned Biomass waste to Energy project to be approved by the government.

The world class Waste to Energy is expected to soon shape in Peka, in Leribe district.

The facility will use the most advanced hydro-pyrolysis technology for the conversion of biodegradable mass (Municipal Solid Waste MSW, Invasive Alien Vegetation, Bamboo, Moringa and Paulownia) into various energy sources including electricity, gas, petrol, diesel, jet fuel, among many others.

The project principals will engage field owners of Thabana-Motseetso and Thoteng ea Likhaka in Peka, Leribe in the cultivation of Bamboo, Moringa and Paulownia forests in Peka. The project owners will act as a strategic partner to the Trust comprising field owners and jointly form a partnership for the execution of the project.

The project owner (sponsor) is Mokhatla Trading (Pty) Limited which is 100% black owned, controlled and managed. Mokhatla Trading and Peka Field owners’ Trust and Basotho business people formed a consortium which, together with the investor, will incorporate a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the purpose of implementing the project.

According to Joseph Makhabane Chief Executive Officer of Mokhatla Trading (PTY) limited full project funding and complete engineering, manufacturing construction and commissioning of the facility is estimated cost of R4 000 000 000.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Likopo Mahase, who was present, said he had not officially come across information about the project but promised to find out from his colleagues and call representatives of the project to hear both sides. He apologised on behalf of the ministry of energy which is supposed to head government’s involvement in the project but was not represented.

Member of Parliament from Peka, Tello Kibane, said even though the project has not been officially approved, at least it will create much needed jobs in Peka which has an increase in crime lately.

Kibane urged the government to quickly look into the project and approve it.

“Since 2019 there has not been a breakthrough on the side of the government to approve this project; apart from the setbacks caused by Covid-19 there have been delays that we do not understand. All the necessary paper work has been done, we do not understand why the government cannot approve the project, and why they keep postponing it time and again,” said Simon Rannoni, chairperson of the fields committee.

The project will fast-track job creation efforts in the short-term and climate change mitigation in the long-term through the implementation of environmental conservation and waste management strategies.

In this regard, the consortium will cultivate Bamboo, Moringa and Paulownia plants as an alternative renewable feedstock for various downstream applications and beneficiation.

In the beginning the project will use Municipal Solid Waste; a minimum of 30 metric tons per day (at the agreed specifications; i.e. 6,400 Btu’s/lb and max 35% moisture). The technical and practical parameters (waste volume, morphology composition and energy) form the basis for the facility design, configuration and output estimates.

The technology process system turns organic carbon based feedstock including solid and liquid waste, biomass and tyres into a high quality syngas, synthetic crude oil, electrical power, transportation fuel, carbon biochar, portable/irrigation grade water; exhaust heat as an available energy for local heating needs) will depend on the gross energy density of feedstock streams.

A review and analysis of the energy product output can be matched against the product selling prices and market support for each of the technically applicable products. The potential product revenue can be estimated, based on these assumptions and compared with estimated CAPEX for the various designs and configuration of the plant.

The projected annualized market value of the facility’s production at full capacity is estimated to be in excess of US$300 000 000 (more than M4 billion).

Off-take agreements are on-going for Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Lesotho Electricity Corporation and Energy Purchase Agreements (EPA) with appropriate ministries for Biofuels.

The project will employ about 600 people for the initial 1250 ha from members of the field owners’ Trust, their households and the community. The project will use cultivation and downstream industrialisation of biomass as an alternative source of clean energy, the protection of the environment and the expansion of this value stream to agriculture and manufacturing to meet the ever-increasing demand for income and sustainability.

Commercial, distribution and marketing of all products and byproducts will be used as raw material for downstream industries. The Bamboo juices from the trees will be used to establish a traditional beverage company. Community and local entrepreneurs will be trained and skilled on how to run small businesses.

Local businesses will provide auxiliary products and services to the project and food for the project employees. These efforts will transform the economy of Peka village.

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