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BCL sale to be approved by parliament

Minister of Mineral Resources, Energy Security and Green Technology, Sadique Kebonang has said that there is nothing sinister about the decision to close BCL, further indicating that parliament will have the final say on its sale.


The sudden closure of BCL in October last year has left the town of Selebi Phikwe in economic turmoil with many theories being peddled with regards to what led to the mine being closed.  The closure of BCL, which include the Tati Nickel Mine, has seen at least 6000 people being left jobless. “Some people were alleging that this was a political decision to fix someone, but the truth is that the decision was a business decision taken on the basis of facts presented before us,” he said.

“At the time BCL was closed, it had only P10 million in its bank account, and remember this is the same company which had just received P1 billion bailout from government.” He said it was clear BCL was not making profit at the time of closure and had accumulated huge debts. The BCL wage bill stood at P65 million at the time the mine was closed, Kebonang revealed.


There were reports that, cabinet which has consistently bailed out BCL in the past, took the decision to end Minister Nonofho Molefhi’s political hopes. Molefhi is challenging Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) chairmanship billed for Tonota next weekend. This suggestion has however been previously dismissed by Masisi as ‘mischievous’. Molefhi is seen as having presidential ambitions and having the potential to disrupt President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s best laid succession plans.


 Since the closure of the mine there have been attempts to sell the mine to different foreign companies but with little success so far. Kebonang told the media this week that although there are some companies which have expressed interest to buy the BCL Mime, some decided against doing it after doing their own due diligence. “That in fact shows that the closure of BCL was a business decision because some do not find a business case in it, and choose not to take it after conducting their own due diligence,” he said.


The minister however mentioned that an assessment which has been done indicates that two shafts in the BCL are economically viable but government has not received the right offer so far. After negotiations have been completed, the sale of BCL will be brought before parliament which will have a final say on the matter. “We do not know what will happen eventually because parliament will have a final say, what we have agreed may be rejected,” he said.


With BDP enjoying majority in parliament and party MPs bound by caucus to support party motion and bills, the sale of BCL will go on once cabinet has approved. Kebonang said before entering into an agreement with any company over the sale of BCL they will do due diligence and only accept it if government is satisfied that the company is viable because they are looking at long term sustainability. The minister indicated that Tati Nickel mine has been spared from the BCL group with its fortune believed to be better.

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