Norilsk Nickel Mauritius and Norilsk Nickel Africa Pty Ltd (together “Norilsk”) have announced that they have filed legal claims against BCL Limited and BCL Investments Proprietary Limited (together “BCL”) in the Botswana High Court and in the London Court of International Arbitration to recover the USD 271.3 million (plus damages and other costs) that they are owed in relation to the sale of a 50% interest in the Nkomati JV in South Africa (“the Assets”).
Norilsk agreed in October 2014 to sell their operations in Africa to BCL for total consideration of USD 337 million. The acquisition, announced by BCL as a strategic priority as part of its high-profile "Polaris II" diversification and investment strategy, was designed to guarantee the long-term future of BCL’s operations by securing the supply of concentrate to its smelter in Selebi Phikwe.
Late 2015, in view of the situation on global metals markets and following BCL’s request for renegotiation, Norilsk agreed to make a number of price concessions. Since that date, Norilsk have consistently signalled their intent to constructively discuss any further proposals reasonably required to complete the transaction.
The transaction obtained final regulatory approvals, and therefore became unconditional, on 6 September 2016 and the parties were obliged to complete the deal on 13 September 2016. In breach of BCL’s agreement with Norilsk, however, BCL has made no attempts to close the transaction. In early October 2016, Norilsk learned through the media that BCL had been placed into provisional liquidation.
Norilsk Nickel Africa CEO, Michael Marriott, said: “BCL has failed to honour its obligations under the sale agreement concluded in October 2014. The failure of BCL to abide by its obligations under the sale agreement is unacceptable in any business transaction. This deplorable conduct has resulted in the BCL smelting and mining operations being placed into provisional liquidation.
“The closure of BCL will have a devastating effect on the livelihoods of thousands of people, and a negative impact on the regional economies which rely on the BCL smelter to beneficiate nickel, copper and PGM concentrates. It is disappointing to note that the Government of Botswana recently invested in refurbishing the BCL smelter, at an estimated cost of 700 Million Pula, giving hope to the people of Botswana that BCL had a good future with Nkomati able to supply the bulk of concentrates for beneficiation.
Botswana has an excellent reputation internationally as a country with a sound investment climate. These actions by BCL could jeopardise that reputation. “Throughout the process Norilsk has acted in good faith, and given BCL repeated opportunities and offers of assistance to complete the transaction, including concessions to significantly reduce the sale price.
“Norilsk has done everything possible to support BCL in its endeavours to secure its long-term future, and therefore sees no other option but to defend its interests in courts with jurisdiction over the matter.” Norilsk's assets comprise a 50% share in the Nkomati Nickel and Chrome Mine (“Nkomati”). Nkomati is a large mine in the Mpumalanga Province in the east of South Africa and Africa’s largest primary nickel producer.
Nkomati has since the transaction been the primary supplier of concentrate to BCL’s smelter in Selebi Phikwe, an important mining town in central Botswana and the largest local employer. Without concentrate supplies from Nkomati – which had continued since the transaction was announced – the Selebi Phikwe smelter may become unviable, with the potential loss of more than 5,000 jobs and a negative impact on families and businesses in Selebi Phikwe.
Michael Marriott added, “The fall-out could also be even wider. The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) has repeatedly announced their desire to beneficiate minerals within the region and the South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) was also highly supportive of the transaction as it meant that Nkomati’s concentrate containing, nickel, copper, platinum and palladium would be beneficiated by BCL in the region thereby benefiting the Southern African regional economy.
Instead, if BCL were to be closed, this means that Tati Nickel, and the Selkirk Project will most likely not proceed, severely impacting people and businesses in Francistown as well.”
Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.
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Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.
A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.
Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.
As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.
Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.
The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.
Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.
“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.
He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.
Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.
“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.
He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.
He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc
“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran
Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.
“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.
Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.
“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.
He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.
“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams
He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .
Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.
“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.