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New BCL owners welcome proposal to give shares to employees


Premium Nickel Resources Botswana (PNRB) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Montwedi Mphathi has said the company is not averse to the idea of ceding part of ownership to the company employees as suggested by the Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU).

PNRB has acquired some assets of BCL, with the view of starting mining operations in near future, a process that will likely take long, according to Mphathi due to the ongoing assessment of the acquired assets.

But before the mine can come to life, the Mine Workers Union want workers to have a piece of cake in the ownership of the mine.

When asked this week to respond to the proposal by Mine Workers Union, Mphathi said: “We have not received the proposal, but management will welcome such proposal, and it will consider it.”

PNRB is currently under the guidance of Mphathi as the company tries to find its feet in the mining industry in Botswana. Mphathi once led BCL during its glory days, before taking over the reins at Botswana Soda Ash, where also had a successful stint.

Despite Mphathi indicating that management has not received the proposal, Mine Workers Union on Tuesday revealed that it has started negotiations with PNRB to propose for employee ownership of the company.

The union leadership said, though they have had a bad relationship with Mphathi in the past in the course of their work, they believe that there are no permanent enemies. The union trust Mphathi is the man they can do business with.

The union did not specify the stake they proposed for employee ownership in the PNRB.

“We want the employees to own shares in these companies. When employees have shares they work hard, there is increased productivity, reduced maintenance costs because employees will be careful knowing they have a stake in the company,” said Mine Workers Union President Joseph Tsimako on Tuesday.

“We are in talks with PNRB, and we want to propose the same to other mining companies so that employees can buy shares in the mines they work for so that they enjoy the fruits of their labour as owners.”

PNRB, is a limited liability company duly incorporated in Botswana. PNRB is wholly owned by PNR Selebi (Barbados) Limited (“PNR Barbados”). PNR Barbados is in turn owned by PNR International Limited (“PNR International”) which is wholly owned by Premium Nickel Resource Corporation

BCL has been in liquidation since October 2016 following deterioration of Copper prices in international commodity markets. Prior to its liquidation, BCL mined and produced nickel-copper-cobalt (“Ni-Cu-Co”) at the BCL Mine site. The Ni-Cu-Co was exported out of Botswana to international markets such as Norway in Northern Europe.

PNR brought hope to the Selebi Phikwe region, which suffered massive economic hit in 2016, after Minister of Minerals and Energy, Lefoko Moagi announced late 2021 that PNR had decided to acquire the two assets and immediately get to work bring them back to operation.

PNR penned an asset purchase agreement which set in motion the process to regulatory approvals, mining licenses, land rights, water rights, amongst others, until January 2022. In January, Competition and Consumer Authority approved the purchase of BCL assets by PNRB.

When assessing the Substantial Lessening of Competition, the Competition Authority discovered that the transaction was not expected to substantially lessen competition due to the absence of product overlaps in the activities of the merging parties.

The merger, according to the CCA was not expected to result in the reduction of the number of players in the market, “hence will not affect the structure of the market.”

In terms of the Acquisition of a Dominant Position, it was found that the proposed transaction will have no effect on the market status quo; and as such, the merged entity is not expected to attain any dominant position on account of the transaction.

In addition, there are Ni-Cu-Co producing companies identified in given geographic regions and having greater market shares to pose effective competitive constraints to the merging parties. Furthermore, the transaction was not expected to negatively impact on rivalry nor harm consumers.

With regards to Public Interest Considerations, the merger assessment findings reveal that the proposed transaction will not have an adverse effect on levels of employment in Botswana. Following the liquidation of BCL, at least 5000 workers of BCL were retrenched with 480 staff remaining for purpose of providing security and care and maintenance activities. The Competition Authority said the proposed transaction will result in a gradual increase in employment and resuscitate the town of Selebi-Phikwe post implementation.


Why Katholo engaged private lawyers against State

16th May 2022

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.

In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

16th May 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.

While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

16th May 2022
Gulaam Husain Abdoola

Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.

Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.

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