Provisional liquidator contradicts himself on the latest development
There seems to be confusion over the purported sale of BCL mine to a well off family from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
While there is still no official communique from government or ministry on the finer details of a deal estimated at P3 billion, with the Abu Dhabi Sheiks; there are reports that the country’s loaded tycoons mainly associated with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party have positioned themselves to benefit from the deal either as investors or subcontractors.
Last week, millionaire Abdulla Magoosh led the Emirates Investment Group delegation where they met the Vice President and toured the mining town of Selebi Phikwe aboard motor magnate Satar Dada’s private jet.
While the arrival of the UAE tycoons has given renewed hope to the residents of Phikwe, especially the 6000 workers who lost their jobs, the involvement of Dada has raised eyebrows.
There arose questions of how the entire BCL situation has made a 360 degrees turn from a ‘fatally insolvent’ entity to a now attractive product in the top shopping list of Arab billionaires.
Last month, the Provisional liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren declared that the BCL Group was fatally insolvent and will be placed under final liquidation.
Addressing the media at Stone House Hotel in Selebi Phikwe, Dixon-Warren said assets of the mine will be sold as a whole or piecemeal to pay creditors (The Voice 200/01/17 No hope for BCL despite rising copper prices).
The liquidator then stressed that it was impossible to re-open the mine in the foreseeable future, saying there was no investor who would put his money on a project that has cost over-runs in billions.
Warren at the time said it would take time to restructure, refurbish and re-design shafts to have BCL up and running.
The return date was penciled for 7th February where a series of meetings with creditors would map the way forward for the winding up of BCL.
However the final liquidation was halted after the Minister of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security Sadique Kebonag’s trip to UAE where he met with possible suitors.
Voice Money sent a questionnaire to the BCL Provisional Liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren to find out what this means for BCL and Phikwe and how much he is involved in the deal involving the UAE billionaires.
Dixon-Warren said despite the purported purchase of BCL by Emirates tycoons, the companies (BCL and Tati Nickel) are still in provisional liquidation.
“The return date was extended from 7th February to 15th March,” he said.
The provisional liquidator could not shed any light on the Emirates deal or how much he is involved in the deal as the appointed person to oversee the winding up.
“This matter is subject to confidentiality arrangements and as such I’m not at liberty to comment,” he said.
The provisional liquidator however seems to contradict himself in his attempt to explain why a ‘fatally insolvent’ company three months ago has attracted the attention of billionaires from UAE.
“I don’t recall saying that BCL is not a viable business. I probably said that it is a very challenging business and I believe it is well known that the ore is of a lower grade than other nickel mines,” he said.
Commenting on the long standing issue between BCL and Russian company Norilsk, Dixon Warren said: “As far as I’m aware, all court applications are pending hearings at present. The outcome is not yet known,” he said.
Meanhwile Selebi Phikwe Mayor Amogelang Mojuta said Phikwe residents should not be overly excited about the news of BCL new investors.
He said SPEDU should play a pivotal role in speeding up the Phikwe revitalisation strategy.
“From what I know, whether the mine re-opens tomorrow it will close again in the future. As Phikwe we are looking beyond BCL and mining and all that government is doing is making the environment conducive for investment,” said Mojuta.