Through the implementation of Polaris 2, BCL seeks transform itself from a mere resource mining company by adding value to its copper and nickel and by-products as a basis of reinvent itself as a fully diversified conglomerate through mergers and acquistions, according to BCL Divisional Manger Motsie Sibanda.
The company is planning ahead so that when the hen which lays the golden egg finally perishes, both BCL and the smoky town will be resurrected and reincarnated to remain relevant in continuing to provide decent wages supporting many families and providing impetus to economy of Selibi-Phikwe.
In this regard, BCL is carrying out a major pre-feasibility study for establishing a 8000 ton per annum copper nickel refinery for making refined grade copper nickel cathade. The refinery proposition has the capacity to create about 600 additional jobs.
The study also seeks to expand and sustain nickel production circuit, develop a chemicals and by-products production circuit, develop a precious metals and other minerals production circuit, develop an iron production circuit, develop a coal production and beneficiation circuit, acquire equity interests in and develop a precious metals and other minerals production circuit and establish the basis for major chemicals and chemicals by-products industries.
BCL has found a lacuna to diversify from its current business model as it is clearly not sustainable.
The community of the greater SPEDU region would be adversely impacted by the closure of the BCL operations. POLARIS II seeks to address the projected demise by creating an industry that will be bigger than the current set up.
BCL strategic plan in the short to medium terms calls for beneficiation of its resource bases and making optimal use of its smelting facility and turning the company into an viable enterprise while in the long term, there are plans to turn the company into a regional diversified resource group attracting business from other base metal mining houses to add value to their mineral products using the smelter at BCL and venturing into the production of chemicals including acids and fertilizers.
The company also seeks to acquiring equity interest in coal, energy, iron and steel businesses and other minerals in order to further diversify its portfolio.
“BCL needs to diversify because its current business model is not sustainable. The people of greater SPEDU region would be adversely impacted by the closure of the BCL operations. Polaris 11 seeks to address the project demise by creating an industry that will be bigger than the current set up”, says Sibanda.
Precious mineral exploration licences have already been acquired and exploration is currently in progress. The construction of the steel production has been completed and was officially opened on October 25 this year and is expected to employ 1000 people. Scrap Metal is the major input for the plant.
Power is the second major input and gasifier produces gas by burning coal and is used to fire furnaces. A commitment with suppliers has been concluded to secure supply of scrap.
The production process of producing finished steel from scrap involves extraction of bulk steel in the induction. Furnace manufactures billets by feeding molten metal to a “concast”. Product could be exported in billet form; or billets could be further processed into higher value products.
The aspect of coal production and beneficiation seeks to acquire coal resource this year and at the same time complete a coal to liquid study.
BCL is also determining the feasibility of utilizing the sulphur dioxide emissions to produce valuable by products and making Botswana self sufficient in the production of fertilizers and thereby supporting other downstream industries. The company will further vigorously persue securing long term minerals for the BCL smelter and medium to long term exploration of other copper nickel deposits and toll treating opportunities.
This will include not only securing mineral concentrates for the smelter, but also future expansion refining capabilities and making more acquisitions of equities in their business entities. Beneficiation process will include more capacity for further stages in the refining of copper and nickel and other base metals.
It is anticipated that at the end the economic and social benefits of efforts with Polaris 11 will be the generation of employment opportunities for approximately 4000 people directly when fully realized, industrialization of the economy, precisely the manufacturing sector, support government policies for economic diversification and growth and which in turn will contribute towards social, economic and political stability and extend the life of the city of Selebi Phikwe.
Other indirect economic benefits will the building of more infrastructure and the project has the potential to make a 15% contribution to Botswana’s GDP and increase manufacturing sector GDP by more than 2.5 times from the current 6%, when the project is fully operational.
The project will further add impetus to Botswana becoming a manufacturing hub in the SADC region and promoting the country as hub for the production of fertilizers in all of Africa and develop local community infrastructure in partnership with the government.
Direct economic and social impact will be the generation of employment opportunities for the local population of about 1000 people in the facility with further multiplier effects of generating employment from associated projects in construction of facilities and their maintenance, logistics and products distribution and supporting and promoting local businesses.
It is also anticipated that the project will improve the living standards, increase disposable incomes and consumer spending and promote best practices in the use of fertilizers to increase yields in agricultural production and provide detergents and chemicals for office, household and industrial use.
The harzadous environmental effects of sulphur dioxide emissions will also be contained at last with 100% consumption of harmful by-products while further ensuring compliance with all the government and international standards of emissions and effort to promote healthy living environment.
This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.
“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.
Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.
Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.
A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.
Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.
In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.
The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.
In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.
Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.
The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”
In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.
Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.
The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.