Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company hopes that it will recover US$271.3 million for its 50% share in Nkomati Nickel and Chrome mine, after learning that the Emirates Investment House (EIH) is in discussions regarding acquisition of Botswana state-owned BCL. The Arab company has already been granted access in order to carry out due diligence of BCL’s assets, including Nkomati.
“Emirates Investment House is very interested in buying shares in BCL, but their sale is only possible after the end of the liquidation procedure – when the issue will be settled with the creditors,” indicated liquidator Nigel Warren-Dixon of accounting firm KPMG, who also stressed that taking on the dispute with Norilsk Nickel is one of the conditions of the transaction.EIH proposal is expected by the end of April, and it will detail the price they are willing to pay for the BCL shares.
Botswana best investment destination in Africa reputation in jeopardy
Botswana has been named the most attractive investment destination in Africa, according to the latest Africa Investment index for 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm. In the global rankings, Botswana is ranked position 71 out of 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the World Bank’s latest Doing Business rankings that was released late last year.
But the liquidation of BCL – the Botswana state-owned mining company would significantly change in 2017 in a negative prospect for Botswana country.
The Botswana government moved quickly to liquidate the BCL mine in October 2016. It seems that this move came to avoid litigation by Russian nickel and palladium mining and smelting company Norilsk Nickel. Speaking in January 2017, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang was surprisingly blunt: “We were at war and we had to move at night to execute our strategy. We withheld this information because we did not want it reaching Norilsk Nickel before the execution of our plan.”
Kebonang continues: “They threatened to sue us and liquidate the mine. We were not going to allow our mine to be liquidated by Russians and watch them as they strip it bare and leave our people with nothing. Had they managed to do that, the mine employees would not be staying in the mine houses, they would have sold everything and stripped BCL and Tati mine bare.”
Botswana Minister of Mineral Resources also disputed that there were further concessions on the table, accusing Norilsk of trying to back the government into a corner to buy the Nkomati mine for US$271.3m, despite its value dwindling to approximately a third of that amount.
He also claimed that the government didn’t have the money to pay for the Nkomati mine, and revealed that US$67m had been secured for the payment of terminal benefits to the 5,000 who lost their jobs. “Every single employee will receive their benefits.”