Following the termination of employment for over 4000 BCL mine workers last month, Nigel Dixon-Warren, the provisional liquidator, tasked with the safe and proper dissolution of BCL Group has this week announced the reinstatement of 400 employees.
Dixon Warren indicated that the retained workers will remain onsite undertaking the care and maintenance of the mine shafts, equipment and the smelter. He further revealed that the 400 workers will remain employed by BCL limited until a conclusion is reached on the future of the two mines, being Tati Nickel and BCL Shafts. The maintenance process involves safe dewatering of the mine underground shafts and high level management of environmental risks.
“Care and maintenance is a pivotal undertaking in the liquidation process of a complex and large scale industrial company like BCL,” noted Dixon-Warren. Information gathered by this publication reveals that a significant portion of the temporarily hired employees will be tasked mainly with maintenance of the smelter, ore processing plant and equipment and most importantly securing the mine assets and the whole site.
According to a source who has been working closely with the liquidator, Dixon-Warren has solicited a support team which includes workers from the human resources department, finance, IT and the BCL Mine Hospital. “The liquidation process is a very complex and tedious engagement that requires full time support staff, thus various workers from a number of departments have been rehired to provide additional support to the dissolution process which involves, valuing of company properties and huge financial paperwork,’’ said a source who preferred anonymity.
The 400 workers received their new offer letters under a totally new contract on Monday immediately after dismissal of thousands of others. It is unclear whether the employees include the mine top brass but WeekendPost has it on good authority that executive management are called from time to time to provide and hand over required company assets and paperwork. The rehiring of the 400 BCL workers comes after 60 support members were re-hired by the liquidator at BCL subsidiary, Tati Nickel weeks ago to provide similar support.
It is understood that the liquidator is dealing with more pressing issues of creditors, debtors and suitors’ as well as financial reconciliation of the Group treasury figures. Sources close to the liquidation process have revealed that the liquidator is having a hard time with the process as mismanagement of funds and unaccounted exit monies are uncovered.
Meanwhile the government has committed P60 million monthly to resource mainly the care and maintenance of the BCL operations. It is believed that the mine will soon be reopened under new ownership. Minister of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang, went on record saying that there are several companies already expressing interest to buy the mine.
Possible attractive assets owned by BCL limited are the Smelter which was recently refurbished at a cost of over P700 million. The BCL copper-nickel smelter is said to be the largest and most complex in the world by capacity. The smelter will be used to process ore from outside Botswana and BCL operations under the new expected ownership, post February, should Dixon-Warren recommend volubility of BCL and any investor interested.
Mining experts have revealed that BCL could still be profitable under Selkirk resource mining and a number of hidden shafts which would require more advanced technology to unearth millions of business sensible proceeds. Dixon-Warren of KPMG has been given a four month mandate to determine and advice the sole shareholder being the Government of Botswana on whether to reopen the mine under restructured business model or sell it to private investors or completely shut down the mine.BCL limited was placed on provisional liquidation through the High Court of Botswana about a month ago after Government announced its inability to pay its P7.8 Billion debt.
This week’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting held at State House chaired by Party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, turned into a ‘boardroom brawl’ with Masisi expressing concerns and accusing central committee members of not adequately shielding him from opposition missiles.
The meeting which was held on Monday this week was to deliberate on a number of agenda items but the President took the moment to tongue lash his inner circle to stop silly PR blunders that are causing more harm than good. The reprimand was mostly directed to party Secretary General Mpho Balopi as well as Chairman of Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
It took the intervention of the Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi to arrest a dispute between the warring Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), by instructing the former to hand over the unfinished P100 billion docket to the latter.
But the PSP’s efforts are not enough, the two institutions are back in the boxing ring again following a letter from the DPP inviting the DCEC back into a case they long declared as “hogwash”. A savingram dated 18th January 2021 from the DPP to the DCEC is calling on the DCEC to assist with further evidence in the P100 billion case, but the DCEC which has never hidden its indifference posits that the move by the DPP can be summed up by the expressions: ‘opening healing wounds’.
A fed-up Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo has come out guns blazing over an order from the Director of the Directorate of Public
Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi instructing the DCEC, to solicit a statement from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and ruling party Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule, regarding the role he played in the issuance of Whelheminah Maswabi’s intelligence operations passport.