Botswana has named a Canadian firm as preferred bidder for its shuttered copper mining group BCL Ltd. The country’s Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security said they had picked Premium Nickel Resources Corp to bid.
Premium Nickel is seeking U$26.5 million of financing to be used for its due-diligence process, according to a January presentation on the website of North American Nickel Inc., the Vancouver-based founder shareholder of Premium Nickel.
The privately owned Canadian minerals investor has six months to conduct due diligence before making an offer for the state-owned miner, Trevor Glaum, BCL’s liquidator, said in a February 11 memorandum to remaining workers at the group.
Mmetla Masire, the permanent secretary in the ministry said in October 2016 BCL went into liquidation due to high operational costs and low base metal prices. Its mines employed more than 5,000 workers at the time of their closing.
Outspoken Selebi Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse noted that the BCL mine still have adequate mineral resources that could support a reasonable mine life especially the Selebi mine shafts arguing that the decision by government to close mine 2015 citing decline in copper prices is no longer reasonable today.
The home of this copper mine has since become a ghost town once admired mining town .
Ogone Keabilwe who sells airtime and fast foods in the town mall said the live hoods has been affected since BCL mine was closed decrying low turnout from business due to a low activity.
‘‘I have been residing in this town for some many years until BCL mine was closed. The town used to be busy in terms of business activity and hype in all aspects you can think of. The whole town is hurting and people have migrated leaving the town mood quiet for so long,” she added.
Another resident Samuel Modikwe said, “I am failing to get a job in most of the security companies I approached as they decry of financial crisis as business have declined. The mine proved it was the economic backbone of this town and the town is collapsing.”