Botswana Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources and energy

Diamonds are Botswana’s most important natural resource. The quarry is at four quarries in the eastern part of the country. In addition, there are a number of other minerals, but only a few of them are mined. Most are found in the Kalahari Desert where they are often hidden under thick sand layers. The country is struggling with electricity shortages.

The center of diamond mining is Orapa, one of the world’s largest mining mines. The recovery there began as early as 1971. Two other open pit mines are located very close to Orapa. Jwaneng, located a little further south, opened in 1982 and is considered the richest diamond mine in the world. All diamond mining is handled by the company Debswana, which is jointly owned by the state and the South African giant De Beers, but other companies now have the rights to mine diamonds and search for new finds.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Botswana with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

Alongside the diamonds are deposits of copper, nickel, coal, gold, silver, uranium, pot ash, salt, manganese and cobalt. The extraction of several minerals has increased, in an attempt to broaden the economic base and take advantage of rising world market prices. A nickel mine near Francistown was expanded in 2002 and became Africa’s largest. Gold mining resumed in 2004 in the Mupane mine.

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Large coal deposits are found in eastern Botswana. The coal is of low quality but used for domestic power generation. The mining takes place in Morupule, where the country’s only coal-fired power station is also located. An expansion of coal power is in progress and will, when completed, make the country self-sufficient in electricity. Until then, electricity is purchased from South Africa, but reduced exports from neighboring countries have made the risk of electricity shortages acute.

The government has encouraged the use of domestic coal, to reduce the use of firewood, which covers a large part of the energy demand. The hunt for firewood for fuel harvests on restricted forest areas and bushlands. Livestock grazing also contributes to the depletion of the soil.

Rural investments are made in the countryside. All oil is imported, mainly from South Africa.


Energy use per person

1,224 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

1708 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

7 033 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

3.2 tons (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

28.9 percent (2015)



Progress in court for LGBTQ persons

A court decides that the government can not deny a group representing LGBT -Persons to register. This is seen as an important step towards increased rights for LGBTQ people.


BDP wins parliamentary elections

The ruling BDP retains power with a good margin in the parliamentary elections. 46.5% of the votes cast for 37 of the 57 directly elected seats. The result means that President Khama can take office for a second term. UDC gets 17 seats and BCP 3 seats.


Bridge building in the Zambezi River

The construction of a bridge across the Zambezi River in Kazungula is formally inaugurated.

Prosecution is brought against Sunday Standard’s employees

The editor-in-chief of the Sunday Standard newspaper, Outsa Mokone, is being sued for resignation after the newspaper published an article claiming that President Khama was involved in a nightly car accident due to excessive speed. The other driver must have received a jeep as a replacement after the crash. Journalist Edgar Tsimane, who wrote the article, is kept in custody for a day but then released and flees to South Africa where he receives temporary refugee status.


Opposition leaders perish

BMD leader Gomolemo Motswaledi (see May 2011), also one of the leadership figures in the opposition alliance UDC, dies in a car accident. The opposition accuses the government of having a finger in the game, but police say it was a common traffic accident. The UDC also does not find any evidence that it was a murder. But when President Khama vetoes an investigation into the National Assembly of the accident, suspicions against the government increase.


No hunting for the bushmen

The Bushmen lose the right to hunt in Botswana, which means they are deprived of the right to live according to tradition.

Botswana Energy and Environment Facts

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