- President Masisi promised to name the investor before end of 2020
- Minister Lefoko says the process is ongoing
FRANCISTOWN: Although President Mokgweetsi Masisi undertook to do so by the end of 2020, the government is yet to announce the winner of the tender to resuscitate BCL Mine.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last year, President Masisi said the liquidator of the mine had received three indicative offers that were under evaluation before the winning bidder could be announced before the end of 2020.
“It is anticipated that by the end of December 2020, a preferred bidder would have been identified with the view to complete the transaction during the course of 2021 after detailed due diligence,” Masisi said.
Since becoming president in 2018, Masisi has made several promises about reopening of BCL Mine. One was at a Kgotla meeting in Selibe-Phikwe before the general elections in 2019 where the President said some investors had been lured and would reopen a part of the mine.
In addition, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi, also told the Parliament about the three indicative offers and hinted at announcing the winner by the end of the year. “The winning bidder will be expected to carry out due diligence and at the end of it may opt not to invest, leaving the government with the costly defunct mines,” Moagi said.
The country’s largest copper and nickel producer was put under provisional liquidation in 2016. At the time, the government attributed the closure to a decline in the quality of copper over the years and a slump in commodity prices, but an independent report simultaneously showed improving prices within a few months of the closure.
Prior to its closure, the mine employed over 4000 miners.
Responding to Gazette enquiries this week, Minister Moagi said the government was yet to approve the bidder. “You will be given full details once the process has happened, which should not be in a distant future,” he added.