The fate of the mothballed BCL mines will be known at the end of August as the potential buyer begins its due diligence.
On Monday, the Chief Registrar of the High Court, Michael Motlhabi revealed that a memorandum of understanding with Premium Nickel Resources Corporation has been finalised. This paves the way for the Canadian company, Premium Nickel Resources Corporation, which has partnered with local consortia to revive the mines that were closed and placed under liquidation five years ago. In February, the mines’ liquidator, Trevor Glaum announced Premium Nickel Resources Corporation had been identified as the preferred bidder. This effectively granted the company exclusive access to the BCL and Tati mines to conduct a comprehensive due diligence exercise until August 2021.
Premium Nickel is expected to make a substantial capital investment of roughly $400 million in preparation for opening of the the mines. The company has decided to make a significant contribution to the care and maintenance costs associated with the mines during the six months’ due diligence process. Faced with dwindling commodity prices and rising operating costs, the Government abruptly closed the BCL Group, made of BCL limited and Tati Nickel Mining Company, in a provisional liquidation by order of the High Court of Botswana on 9 October 2016. The Government owns 100% of the BCL shares, while BCL’s wholly-owned subsidiary, BCL Investments Pty Ltd, holds an 85% stake in Tati. The remainder of the shares in Tati is directly held by the Botswana Government.
The Government, also a major creditor of BCL’s, has spent P1.2 billion on the closed mines between 2016 and 2018, and in 2019, injected another P292 million, most of which was geared towards the maintenance and care of the mines.