This week, Canadian-based North American Nickel (NAN) revived the dream of reopening the mine by announcing that it is participating in raising capital to finance the purchase of BCL assets. NAN has a 10 percent stake in another Canadian company, Premium Nickel Corporation, recently appointed the preferred bidder for BCL mine.
The latest development revives the hopes of more than 5000 former employees of the BCL Group who lost their jobs when the Government liquidated the mines in 2016 due to a fall in commodity prices, among other factors. According to a report seen by Weekend Post states that the North American Nickel “has participated for its pro-rata share in a recent private placement financing of Premium Nickel Resources (PNR), to maintain its 10% equity ownership.”
According to North American Nickel, “The PNR private placement is being held in escrow and is conditional on the anticipated signing of the Asset Purchase Agreement for the assets in liquidation of the former BCL Limited, Botswana.” PNR recently announced that it has pledged to make a financial contribution to the care and maintenance activities at BCL Group and its subsidiaries, including Tati Nickel mines. The mines closed in 2016 with the loss of more than 5000 jobs, and the Government is the one footing the bill for care and maintenance.
The report says North American Nickel is a founding shareholder PNR which submitted an Indicative Offer to the BCL Liquidator in June 2020 to acquire the former producing BCL Selebi-Phikwe Mining Complex and the Tati Nickel Mining Corporation (“TNMC”) Operations as well as regional exploration joint ventures on highly prospective Ni-Cu-Co projects located in north-eastern Botswana. The report quotes North American Nickel Chief Executive Officer Keith Morrison saying that his company is working with PNR during the current exclusivity period to finalise the assets for purchase (assets of BCL).
“The use of this private placement will enable a smooth transition to the ownership of the assets and prepare for the activities required to advance the purchased assets to a compliant Pre-Feasibility level,” he said. Morrison added that “The PNR business model is based on a modern redevelopment of a combination of the BCL and TNMC deposits to produce Ni-Cu-Co and water in a manner which will benefit all stakeholders and that is inclusive of modern environmental, social and corporate governance responsibilities.”
He said PNR’s goal is to significantly reduce the environmental and carbon footprint with the adaption of best practices including safety, sustainability and the application of new technologies.” PNR was selected as the preferred bidder to acquire the assets formerly owned by BCL Limited and TNMC on February 10, 2021. On March 24, 2021, PNR completed the Exclusivity Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Liquidator for the ongoing six-month exclusivity period to complete additional work and related Asset Purchase Agreements (See News Release Dated March 24, 2021).
“Negotiations are ongoing to finalise terms on the prioritised assets that will be included in the Asset Purchase Agreement. The BCL operations at Selebi-Phikwe are comprised of a mining complex, a concentrator and a processing facility, as well as other supplementary assets and infrastructure such as rail lines, tailings facilities, and employee housing” said Morrison. The report says shaft sinking and plant construction started in 1970, and open-pit mining commenced at Phikwe in 1972.
“Throughout the mine’s life, the various deposits, over a 14 km strike length, have been mined by open pit and various underground mining methods. Mining concluded in October 2016 when the operations were placed on care and maintenance due to a failure in the smelter,” the report says. It reveals that PNR’s redevelopment plan is based on a re-characterisation of the remaining resources and producing two separate commercial concentrates (a Cu concentrate and a separate Ni-Co concentrate).
North American Nickel says the historical statements of resources and reserves noted above are sourced from the following report Wood Mackenzie – Selebi Phikwe Closed Nickel Operation Asset Report, December 2018. It says Sharon Taylor reviewed the information on behalf of North American Nickel (NAN), who has concluded that the stated reserves and resources are non NI 43-101 compliant.
“However, the historical reserves and resources are considered relevant and reliable as a basis for understanding the potential resources at the property. To the best of North American Nickel (NAN’)s knowledge, information and belief, there is no new material, scientific or technical information that would disclose the mineral resources inaccurate or misleading.
“NAN has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves and is not treating the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves. The company understands that PNR, upon successful acquisition of the assets, intends to commence a program to update the resource model to support an NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate),” the company said.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.
Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.
The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ, Patrick Thedi said, “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”
As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.
Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele, who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.
The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as well as bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.
TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050, has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.