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BCL reopening: Canadian investors keep dream alive 


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.


Mental health concern amid COVID-19 pandemic 

24th September 2021
Mental Health

With the advent of COVID-19, mental health and psychosocial has become a major concern around the world. There is   significant increase in the rates of stress, anxiety and depression globally.

In creating awareness and support on mental health and psychosocial support, the Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, through the Department of Social Protection (DSP) hosted a virtual regional mental health and Psychosocial Support Forum (MHPSS).

The MHPSS Forum brings together stakeholders from different sectors providing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support services particularly to children, youth, families and the workforce, as well as Academia, International Cooperating Partners, Community Implementing Partners and the media.

It aims to facilitate learning, information exchange and advocacy to promote mainstreaming of Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support (PSS) into policies, programmes, services and funding priorities for children and youth in Botswana.

The event is a partnership between The Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development, through the Department of Social Protection (DSP), and the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), with Project Concern International Botswana (PCI) and Marang Child Care Network Trust (MCCNT).

The event is held every two years, and Botswana started hosting the Forum in 2014. The theme for this year is ‘Innovate, Integrate, Thrive,’ which prompts us to find new ways to survive the COVID-19 pandemic which we can mainstream into our daily activities.

The Northern Regional Forum in Mahalapye was held on 17-19 August 2021 while the Southern Regional Forum  in  Ghanzi, was  from 21-23 September 2021. Findings from both regions will be presented at the National Forum to be held in Kasane on 12-14 October 2021. The event is held in collaboration with local authorities in each region.

The event is structured in this manner: The first day is a Special Session for Children, where children in the region will talk about the challenges they face that affect their mental health, how they cope and what they think can be done to support them.

The second day is the official opening where the lead ministry gives a keynote address, and presentations from service providers in the region. The third and last day is abstract presentations from different speakers on thematic areas under the theme.

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GMES & Africa Southern Africa to hold a Regional Stakeholder Workshop on Earth Observation Technologies

24th September 2021

The Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management (SASSCAL) in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will hold a Hybrid GMES and Africa Regional workshop from 27 – 29 September 2021, at Safari Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia.

The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) Initiative is a programme formed out of mutual cooperation between Africa and Europe with a focus on Earth Observation (EO) systems.

It was formed to respond to the global need to manage the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security by providing information to policymakers, scientists, private sector and the public. GMES and Africa aims to promote development of local capacities, institutional, human and technical resources for access to and exploitation of Earth Observation (EO) based services on an operational basis for sustainable development in Africa.

In its first phase, GMES has funded 13 consortiums in Africa. In Southern African, SASSCAL-led consortia is implementing the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Service for Transboundary Basins in Southern Africa (WeMAST) Project while CSIR is leading the Marine and Coastal Operations for Southern Africa (MARCO[1]South). SASSCAL Members of the consortium include the University of Botswana, University of Zambia, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of the Western Cape and Midlands State University, South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of Zambia.

CSIR led consortium includes ABALOBI, Benguela Current Convention, Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, National Sea Rescue Institute, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Eduardo Mondlane and the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association).

The workshop will also provide an opportunity to promote and encourage mutual exchanges in terms of sharing best practices, knowledge and experiences as well as allow for the exchange of information and knowledge on new and innovative Earth Observation technologies developed under the programmes and their alignment with the region’s sustainable development strategies.

The workshop will also reveal trends in the use of earth observation data to monitor and assess wetland conditions, threats to sustainable utilisation of wetland resources as well as updating stakeholders on how climate change variability and drought is continually affecting Sub-Saharan Africa’s surface water resources.

The workshop’s envisaged outcomes will be to ensure shared knowledge and understanding of the new and innovative Earth Observation technologies, and their application to society. Expected to visit is a broader pool of international delegates from the two continents (Europe and Africa) both physically and virtual.

This includes the member countries policy makers, line ministers from the SADC countries, public and private sector stakeholders, implementers, Basin Commissions, researchers, and any other stakeholders whose activities are related to coastal areas, rivers, and their ecosystems.

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Vendors ready for the Tobacco Control Bill

21st September 2021

Some vendors have been misled
Vendors thrive on households goods and fresh produce

Despite the previous false allegations that the Tobacco Control Bill will lead to several 20 000 vendors across the country losing their jobs, several local vendors have expressed that they are ready for the bill and because vendors sell mostly household goods

“This is something that we openly accept and receive as street vendors, the problem is some of our counterparts were misled and made to believe that we will not be allowed to sell cigarettes on our stalls.

Some of us got to understand that the bill states that we have to be licensed to sell cigarettes, we are not supposed to sell them to children under the age of 18 years of age and eliminating the selling of single sticks. We understand that this agenda is meant to develop a healthy nation but not take us down,” said Mbimbi Tau a vendor who operates from Mogoditshane.

The Tobacco Control Bill has been passed in several countries and street vendors are operating properly without any challenges faced. Tau further mentioned that there is no way that the Tobacco Control Bill will affect their business operations, all they have to do as vendors are to get the required documentation and do what the bill requires.

Another vendor Busani Selalame who operates from Gaborone Bonnington North was not shy to express his support towards the Tobacco Control Bill, “the problem is that some people within our sector have been misled and now they think that the bill is meant to take our operations down and completely stop selling cigarettes.

I support the fact that we are not supposed to sell cigarettes to children who are under the age of 18 years of age this has always been wrong, as parents we should be cautious of such and ensure that our children are disassociated with cigarettes,” said Selalame.

The Tobacco Control Bill prohibits advertising, promotion and sponsorship by the tobacco industry to prevent messages, cues, and other inducements to begin using tobacco, especially among the youth, to reassure users to continue their use, or that otherwise undermine quitting.

Renowned economist Bakang Ntshingane is of the view that since vendors sell household goods and fresh produce they are likely to keep on making profits despite what the Tobacco Control Bill comes with. He further stated that the Tobacco Control Bill will not be of harm on the local economy since the country does not manufacture or produce any tobacco related products.

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